Should I add water to my whisky?

It’s important to point out one undeniable fact; drinking whisky ultimately comes down to personal taste. There are no written rules on how you should drink whisky, only advice and what we believe in, experimentation!

In most cases, whisky already has water added to it. This is true for whiskies with 40-45% alcohol level/strength. This is known as ‘cutting’, as it allows the alcohol to be bottled at an acceptable and reasonable level for most consumers.

Whisky connoisseurs and enthusiasts will constantly debate whether you should add water. Those against adding water believe you should enjoy it in its “natural form” with the original characteristics straight from the cask. However, it is argued that adding water can open up new flavours and tastes, subtle notes that perhaps you would usually miss.

Cask strength whiskies can often be overpowering and leave a burning, tingling sensation in your mouth. Therefore adding water can reduce the strength, which allows you to appreciate and recognise more of the flavours.

Is there a big difference when you add water to Whisky?

The best way to find out is to taste whisky neat, then again with a little water added to it. The best comparison we can give is to imagine drinking a glass of orange squash undiluted, then a glass of diluted squash. Yes, this may be an extreme example, but it fundamentally highlights how water can sometimes be of benefit. Please bear in mind this is not the case for all whiskies.

How much water should I add?

This is entirely up to you. Add a little at a time and then taste; find the perfect amount to suit your taste buds. We suggest that you try the whisky as it comes out of the bottles before adding any water. Then you can decide whether it needs any water.

What happens when I add ice?

Adding ice to whisky is different to that of water. Adding ice can cause it to taste dull and flat, albeit refreshing. When it begins to warm up, the flavours and bouquet of aromas will be released. However, adding just one or two ice cubes can benefit some whiskies.

Managing Director Chris Wellman’s top 5 whiskies

Chris Wellman shares with us his top 5 whiskies at the moment…

  1. Aberlour A’bunadh (pronounced ‘Abber low (as in allow) er –- Aboonah’
  2. Old Pulteney 17-year-old Single Malt
  3. Glenrothes 1991
  4. Bruichladdich First Growth Cuvee E Sauternes (Chateau D’Yquem) 16 Year Old
  5. Scotch Malt Whisky Society Bottling Single Cask no 30.71 (Burnt Crumpet and Highland Toffee)

Whisky Glasses

Whisky tasting is an art that can take years to master, so why not get some high-quality whisky glasses to help you on your way!