Influence of water in whisky? Taste?

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  • Mathis
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    Member Mathis
    Joined: 26.10.2016Posts: 105Ratings: 33
    , edited February 16 2017 at 7:33AM

    Hi everyone. 

    Simple yet complicated question. 

    What is the influence of the water used when distilling whisky, when it comes to taste? 

    Does it have an influence at all? Or might be it does a little bit, yet not noticeable?

    Also the amount of minerals should influence the whisky. If water is filled with minerals, it will have an influence - but what exactly?  

    Reading through several books and forums, it seems that some people suggest that fx peat levels in the water will influence the peat taste in the whisky. However the peat level in water must be so low, that this wouldn't be noticeable I would say? 

    Lots of clever people in here - what are your opinions on the topic? Hope you can give me some insight. 

    Cheers. :horst:

  • [Deleted User] Joined: 26.08.2016Posts: 0CollectionEmpty Bottle ClubRatings: 160
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    @Mathis

    Adding water to whisky makes some flavor molecules more accessible, but it masks others. The taste profile of the whisky will change, but whether it is improved or harmed is a matter of personal preference. Overall, to me, the biggest benefit of adding water is to fine tune the alcohol burn and flavors to find the sweet spot for your individual palate.

    I use bottled spring water to dilute my whisky, but I don't believe the type of water makes a difference as long as it isn't tap water with a lot of chlorine (my tap water smells like a swimming pool at times). You will see some folks recommending water with different mineral levels for different types of whisky, but that seems over-the-top to me.

    I tend to dismiss the claims that peaty water used in processing has any effect on the peat flavor in the whisky. The peat must be burned to create the phenols responsible for the "peaty" flavor.

    Clear alcohols are for rich women on diets. (Ron Swanson)
    Mathis liked that
  • [Deleted User] Joined: 04.12.2016Posts: 0CollectionJohn's CollectionRatings: 0
    , edited February 21 2017 at 8:54AM
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    @Mathis

    Here is an interesting article on the subject.
    SCOTT: I found this on Ganymood, er, Ganymede.
    TOMAR: What is it?
    SCOTT: Well, it's, er. (peers at it, sniffs it) It's green.
    Mathis liked that
  • SlàinteMhath Member SlàinteMhath Joined: 09.10.2016Posts: 134CollectionOslo Whisky ClubRatings: 162
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    Mathis said:


    What is the influence of the water used in whisky, when it comes to taste?


    I suppose you mean the influence of the water being used by the distillery, rather than the water added to release the flavour when having a wee dram?

    Distilleries are making a lot of claims when it comes to their water source. Some might be true (content of minerals) while others are pure nonesense (peat smoke due to contact with natural peat). I believe there is a small impact on the taste, but I doubt it's on par with the influence of distillation process and cask maturation. Maybe it's even a placebo effect - you imagine the crystal clear Scottish water and enjoy your whisky even more. Well, why not.

    That's what I do. I drink, and I know things.” (Tyrion Lannister)

    >>> Whisky reviews by Slàinte Mhath <<<

  • Mathis
    Topic creator
    Member Mathis
    Joined: 26.10.2016Posts: 105Ratings: 33
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    @SlàinteMhath This is exactly what I ment. And I totally agree.

    However I was always thinking: 

    What taste will you have with mineral rich water in the distillate, contra less mineral rich water.

    Does this make sense? 
  • Mathis
    Topic creator
    Member Mathis
    Joined: 26.10.2016Posts: 105Ratings: 33
  • [Deleted User] Joined: 04.12.2016Posts: 0CollectionJohn's CollectionRatings: 0
    , edited February 21 2017 at 8:59AM
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    @Mathis

    I changed my response because initially I had misconstrued your question. Please reference my revised answer above.

    SCOTT: I found this on Ganymood, er, Ganymede.
    TOMAR: What is it?
    SCOTT: Well, it's, er. (peers at it, sniffs it) It's green.
  • Mathis
    Topic creator
    Member Mathis
    Joined: 26.10.2016Posts: 105Ratings: 33
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    @to_e_or_not_to_e Thanks, however i cannot find the article you are linking to, can you send it again? 


  • [Deleted User] Joined: 04.12.2016Posts: 0CollectionJohn's CollectionRatings: 0
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    SCOTT: I found this on Ganymood, er, Ganymede.
    TOMAR: What is it?
    SCOTT: Well, it's, er. (peers at it, sniffs it) It's green.
    Suzanne1967 liked that
  • Mathis
    Topic creator
    Member Mathis
    Joined: 26.10.2016Posts: 105Ratings: 33
  • DaFin Member Joined: 23.05.2016Posts: 103CollectionDaFins CollectionRatings: 15
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    @to_e_or_not_to_e

    Great site,  dude. Thanks. 

    Mathis liked that
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