Author Topic: Adding water to Scotch  (Read 812 times)

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Offline DaleReid

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Adding water to Scotch
« on: July 03, 2022, 08:28:50 PM »
Last year I was at a meeting held at a pretty upscale (for me) hotel and conference center.  There was a whole boutique sitting area staffed for a few hours every evening where they served only Scotch to drink.  None of us drank, but a few off the golf course drifted in to have one before going up to their rooms, presumably to get ready for dinner.

Around the overstuffed leather chairs were small bottles of water, with a glass eyedropper, and I asked the attendant (who was mostly sitting around, but happy to have the attention) what was with the water.  He said to add a little to the whisky to open up the flavors.  OK.  I have heard of taking whisky 'neat', and also on the rocks and with 'a splash' of water.

As an old chemistry fan, I could envision someone titrating their incredibly priced Scotch with a drop of water at a time until that magical moment was achieved, but it got me thinking about the whole things.

Several article on line have gone over the general idea that some of the flavor compounds in Scotch are inhibited by too much alcohol, and adding water will allow those to be absorbed better and improve the dram. 

But a single drop?  Or do you start out with a dropperful, taste, and then add more?  I also read that to be called Scotch, it must be at least 40% alcohol by volume, but the drinker obviously can dilute it down.

The math of the thing is baffling, with the idea being the Scotch out of the bottle is so close to being 40% that you only need a few drops of water to bring it below that?  And is 40% alcohol a magical number where below that the flavors come out  no matter where it was distilled?

Are there any Scotch whisky drinkers out there who do add water, and if so just wing it and dump some in, or do you do the Quantitative Analysis from college chemistry to determine very accurate additions to make the right quantity?

Or is is all 'smoke' and mirrors and baffling bullsheet just to impress those who don't drink or don't drink the expensive stuff?
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Offline CW2274

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Re: Adding water to Scotch
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2022, 08:50:41 PM »
Are there any Scotch whisky drinkers out there who do add water
I don't drink Scotch often, but when I do, it's always a single malt, neat, and chilled. A good cigar goes great here as well.  [tup]

Offline DaleReid

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Re: Adding water to Scotch
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2022, 09:42:11 PM »
Well, there are more humidly controlled rooms holding boxes of cigars in the larger service liquor areas, even in a couple grocery stores around here.  I'm surprised. 

I recall an internist and a pharmacist who were on a committee with me that, when we went to a meeting, would have a cigar together and visit over some drink out on the patio.  I don't know if they were drinking Scotch or not.

Do  you have a brand you prefer?  Can  you tell it from some other Scotch or is it all like beer where someone thinks that they won't drink Spotted Cow but only Busch Lite?
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Offline CW2274

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Re: Adding water to Scotch
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2022, 10:08:38 PM »
I'm no expert, but Glenfiddich (various) is what I normally have had. My neighbor turned me onto some Johnnie Walker Blue for my B-day a couple of weeks ago. I actually think that's a blend, but damn, was it good.

Offline ValentineWeather

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Re: Adding water to Scotch
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2022, 10:13:27 PM »
Interesting, can't say I've had scotch. I do have an occasional Bloody Larry supposedly as close to what a real Bloody Marry should taste like.
Randy

Offline ValentineWeather

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Re: Adding water to Scotch
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2022, 10:15:40 PM »
I'm no expert, but Glenfiddich (various) is what I normally have had. My neighbor turned me onto some Johnnie Walker Blue for my B-day a couple of weeks ago. I actually think that's a blend, but damn, was it good.

Move to Valentine we could be neighbors  :grin: And get out of that fricking heat.
Randy

Offline CW2274

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Re: Adding water to Scotch
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2022, 10:19:50 PM »
But it's a dry heat.... UU

Offline ValentineWeather

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Re: Adding water to Scotch
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2022, 10:30:57 PM »
You know we do have our hot periods like today the dew point hung around 70 and mid-90s. Tomorrow 100 so we do have summer. Fun watching the thunderstorms roll through and our winters it's a weather enthusiast paradise. Plus it's one of the few places along with South Dakota where sanity still exists.
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Offline CW2274

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Re: Adding water to Scotch
« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2022, 10:39:33 PM »
Plus it's one of the few places along with South Dakota where sanity still exists.
Oh, trust me, I have various places in mind if and when the time comes. Weather notwithstanding, your neck of the woods is on my retired radar.

Offline DaleReid

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Re: Adding water to Scotch
« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2022, 11:25:44 PM »
Johnny Walker Blue is a Scotch?  Hmm, we had a long time partner retire about a decade or so ago who retired, and we got him a bottle of that (close to $200 at the time, and had to be special ordered in since none of the liquor stores carried it).

He recounted the story of being in a bar and as a special treat for his birthday, ordered a glass, or dram, or whatever.  The bartender, a young fellow who must not have had a clue, said it was $10, a mere fraction of what it should have cost.  He had a couple more, at the bar's expense, and made sure when he ordered it, he got it from the same guy to make sure someone hadn't decided to  charge the real price. 

I do recall a friend who managed Saz's bar and rib joint outside the Milwaukee Brewer's stadium (great BBQ) saying that the majority of the profit was from the booze.  A $30 bottle of whatever would bring in a couple hundred when poured.  She was very careful that the multitude of bartenders didn't charge less to their friends, and that the didn't over pour, either. 
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Offline CW2274

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Re: Adding water to Scotch
« Reply #10 on: July 03, 2022, 11:51:32 PM »
Johnny Walker Blue is a Scotch?  Hmm, we had a long time partner retire about a decade or so ago who retired, and we got him a bottle of that (close to $200 at the time, and had to be special ordered in since none of the liquor stores carried it).
https://www.totalwine.com/spirits/scotch/blended-scotch/johnnie-walker-blue-label/p/4372750

Offline box

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Re: Adding water to Scotch
« Reply #11 on: July 04, 2022, 04:29:50 AM »
I remember being told in Scotland once that the only thing you should add to scotch is more scotch :lol:

Allegedly you should water scotch down slightly with water from the stream that fed the distillery where it's made, good luck with that!

I thinks it's down to the individual, certainly the older vintages have less of an immediate 'hit' and require less moderation

Personally I have a couple of ice cubes and a dash of water with my favourite, Old Pulteney, but a lot of the Speyside malts really don't need anything

One rule: never soda, or coke  :shock:, that is reserved for blends

Offline davidmc36

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Re: Adding water to Scotch
« Reply #12 on: July 04, 2022, 08:00:24 AM »
I never had such a great Scotch experience until my Best Friend showed me how to drink it. Remove a hot, thick bottomed glass from the dishwasher, straight from the end of the rinse cycle. Leave the few drops of water that are clinging to it and quickly pour your favorite Spirit. (Neat by the way)

Flavour and aroma are released in a burst and the alcohol is toned down. \:D/

Offline Bashy

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Re: Adding water to Scotch
« Reply #13 on: July 04, 2022, 08:18:32 AM »
I dont know about water, but mines a Bells and Lemonade, don't like any other, they're too rough for me, saying that, i don't really like alcohol in general and it really hates me :/
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