You love whisky? Then you have probably already heard that a few drops of water are supposed to intensify the taste. Now researchers have investigated the reason for this. But be careful: too much water and the noble drop is gone. Anyone who adds a few drops of water to his whisky is often looked at crookedly in the bar – if looks could kill…! But there is no reason for the reproachful looks. The water dilutes the whisky and it ensures that the smoky character reaches our taste receptors. This is due to the fact that the water holds a taste-imparting substance on the surface of the noble drop. According to Björn Karlsson and Ran Friedman, two researchers from the USA, you are not a bully if you dilute your whisky with water. On the contrary: you prove to be a true expert! Almost like our Youtube expert / “professional alcoholic” Horst Lüning. Experienced whisky drinkers know: the quality of a drop depends largely on the choice of the right wooden cask. Compliance with special manufacturing specifications also plays a role. According to the two researchers, however, the intense smoky taste can be attributed in particular to individual chemical compounds. Especially phenols and especially a substance called guaiacol play a decisive role.
Jack D. from Tennessee can only tolerate certain amounts of water
The scientists investigated the relationship of water and guaiacol at different alcohol concentrations. The results are astounding: in a whisky with 45 percent alcohol, guaiacol settles between the water and the air, so to speak. It has a strong influence on the smell and taste of the drink. The situation is different with an alcohol content of 59 percent. With a whisky with so many revolutions, the taste mediator guajacol sinks into the glass. As a whisky fan you can significantly improve your taste experience with a few drops of water. But be warned! The line between “dilute to taste” and “dilute to waste” is very narrow. Meaning: just one drop of water too much can ruin the whisky and cause the cask to overflow.