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I have just heard that ice can drastically reduce lots of flavours in yer single malts....so beware.Whereas water can sometimes bring out more subtle flavours of yer "wee" dram.DISCUSS!!
@Highlander Between the debate of ice VS water, from a scientific point of view, ice brings down the temperature of the whisky. The main few taste of whisky when associated to taste buds would include mainly sweet and bitterness. As these 2 are the main flavors of most whisky's, by adding ice to whisky it significantly reduces our tastebud's sensetivity to these flavors.
More specifically, Transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily M member 5 or TRPM5 in short is responsible for the induction of sweet, bitter and umami taste. by reducing the temperature of the whisky with ice, you are effectively reducing the sensitivity of the TRPM5 which in turn causes what you describe 'drastically reduce lots of flavours'. Furthermore, adding ice to your whisky slows down the molecules reducing the evaporation which inturn reduces the release of aromas (will be explained later).
On the other hand, by adding water, specifically room temperature water, you introduce more particles into your whisky. This causes more bombardment of the whisky and your water thereby releasing more flavors or it seems (as believed by many and sometimes used to simple explain the reason behind it). It is actually more complex than that.
Focusing on the specific compounds that gives rise to the AMROMA of whisky, we boil down to a few common aromas which includes, peatiness, smokiness, spicy, cirtus and vanilla (I know i've excluded a few other flavors like honey, oakiness etc so forgive me). These should not be confused with flavors as the human body can only detect a few flavors; salty, sweet, bitter, sour and umami. In order for us to fully enjoy food, drinks etc, our body recruits the help of our olfactory receptors (sense of smell). These aromas as mentioned are due to a compound Guaiacol. The % of ethanol contributes greatly to the how the guaiacol is mixed in the whisky. To put things simply, the guaiacol follows ethanol closely. At high % of ethanol, the guaiacol is found to be mixed homogeneously in the whisky and not easily evaporated, but as the concentration of ethanol decreases, the ethanol is then able to rise to the surface and evaporate. Hence, as you add water, you are bringing the alcohol concentration down allowing the ethanol and guaiacol to rise to the surface and be released more efficiently. Which is inturn, why you would feel that 'water can sometimes bring out more subtle flavors' its because these aromas are not easily release especially in high % ABV whisky's or whisky's in which these aromas are rather minute and requires water or time before their flavors gets released.
Water in some for works the same as allowing your whisky to breath. As the ethanol would slowly rise to the surface and evaporate, some of these aromas are released together as well.
So in conclusion, adding water not only helps to release the aromas, it also maintains the temperature of your whisky which allows the full flavors to be enjoyed while adding ice reduces the flavors, it adds a 'cooling' sensation to your mouth. Hence it really depends on your preference if you would like full flavors or would just like to enjoy a nice cold dram. As Charles MacLean once said, add ice for enjoyment, add water for full appreciation.
Hope this helps you understand better on Ice VS Water.
@thepeanut Very imformative...thanks!!I have recently been sipping my whisky like Horst does in his wonderful reviews,may add some room temp.water as an experiment,to see if subtle flavours are released.With Glenfarclas 15 for example at 46%...sipping straight is tongue tingling stuff
@Highlander I've yet to open my glenfarclas 15! I have with my a 12, 15 and 17YO Glenfarclas. I'm waiting for this coming Jan 2018 when I'm flying off ill catch myself a Glenfarclas 18 and maybe a second bottle of 15 so that I can open them up. Haha I have the obsession of collecting whisky's but only opening if I have a second bottle!
For me, I'll take a very very tiny sip if the whisky has a high ABV and let it sit and run around in my mouth. After which, like you, ill add alittle water to reduce the ABV and then sip on it normally. Bringing the whisky down to 35% ABV is the ideal ABV for enjoying most of the flavors and aromas.
@thepeanut isnt Glenfarclas 17.... £105?15 is much better value!
@Highlander I got the Glenfarclas 17 @ SGD$137 aprox. £75 and my 15yo @ SGD$125 aprox £68 so the difference here in singapore isnt that much hence would get the 17yo. However those were 70cl bottles (700ml) I got my 12yo @ SGD$70 from DFS which amounts to roughly £40 or less. contemplating if I should get another 17yo to open as I only have 1 bottle and can't bear to open it hahaha
@thepeanut Here are some background information about whisky and water.
Well, I think ice has a very unique taste as there are many people who like to have an ice cube in their water, wine, etc. One can get safe, clean and good tasting ice from the sanitize ice machine. The ice machine is also referred to as an ice maker or ice generator which is largely used in the hotels, bars, and restaurants in order to satisfy the need of the customer. The ice machine is an amazing device by which one can easily produce sanitize ice. One can easily hire an ice machine installation Santa Barbara team if you are looking to install a new ice machine in your premises. Having an ice machine is like you can easily produce ice in a large quantity.
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