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Article  Too much water can make whiskies taste the same

C C Offline

INTRO: While adding a little water is popularly thought to “open up” the flavor of whisky, a Washington State University-led study indicates there’s a point at which it becomes too much: about 20%.

Researchers chemically analyzed how volatile compounds in a set of 25 whiskies responded to the addition of water, including bourbons, ryes, Irish whiskeys and both single malt and blended Scotches. They also had a trained sensory panel assess six of those whiskies, three Scotches and three bourbons.

Both tests found that adding a little water could change how the whiskies smelled, but after 20%, they may start to have the same aroma. Since smell and taste are often closely linked, this likely affected the spirit’s flavor as well.

“If you want to enjoy a specific whisky, this suggests that you don't want to dilute it by more than about 20%,” said Tom Collins, a WSU assistant professor and senior author on the study in the journal Foods. “By the time you get to 60/40 whisky to water, the whiskies are not differentiated by the panelists; they begin to smell the same, and that’s not really what you're looking for.” (MORE - details)
confused2 Offline
I normally drink the cheapest whiskey - partly cost and partly because if you regularly drink the same thing it becomes the same thing wherever you start from. I'd normally say adding water to whiskey was a no-no but I thought I'd try it to see what happened. I think adding a small amount of water would allow me to pass off my cheap whiskey as a more expensive 'smoother' whiskey.
... sniffing and sipping.. ... sniffing and sipping..... sniffing and sipping..
Noo! It's lost the 'edge'. Scottish people spend hundreds of years getting a thing just right and then Americans and Bavarians come along and start adding water to it and saying it's better. If it was better like that it would have been like that .. so I'm back to adding water being a no-no.
I have to admit I was under the impression that (exceptionally) peaty water could be added. Many years ago, In a bar with about 50 different whiskeys we were provided with a jug of murky water that might have been 'peaty' or it might just have been not very clean.

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