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Any One for a Scotch? - Page 120

post #1786 of 3229
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinnyGoomba View Post

I'm going to Honeymoon in scotland, looking forward to trying as many scotches as possible.

That sounds fantastic! Happy and safe travels to you and your bride-to-be.
post #1787 of 3229
Thanks Thomas!
post #1788 of 3229
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinnyGoomba View Post

I'm going to Honeymoon in scotland, looking forward to trying as many scotches as possible.

That sounds awesome. Are you visiting any distilleries? Whereabouts in Scotland will you be going?
post #1789 of 3229
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gibonius View Post


Going to get a lot of minerals from the wood too.

I may be wrong or only partly right but as I understand it most of the flavour imparted by the wood is esters extracted from the wood and from the charring that is given the wood.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gibonius View Post

The distilled water is going to alter the mineral profile as well; by adding mineral-free water you're lowering the concentrations of all of them. Obviously the ideal would be spring water from the original source, but in the likely event you wouldn't have access to that water, a clean tasting spring or filtered water would be least likely to significant alter the taste.

That's a point worth considering but whisky itself is distilled. Whatever minerals are in the water are left in the mash tun. Adding water, even from the original source, is altering the native flavour of the whisky. And adding mineral (flavoured) water from a disparate source is murder.

Maybe it's a good reason to drink malt neat...if you need one.
post #1790 of 3229
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post

I may be wrong or only partly right but as I understand it most of the flavour imparted by the wood is esters extracted from the wood and from the charring that is given the wood.
Most, sure. Minerals have a very faint taste in general. Have you ever known a (natural) mineral water to taste particularly strong, much less anything like an aged liquor? Distilled water tastes bad because we unconsciously notice the lack of minerals, but most decent "clean" waters are going to taste very very similar unless they're deliberately stocked with extra minerals (or contaminated with sulfur, etc).

Most of the difference in flavor from cask strength to the final, diluted, form comes from altering the concentrations of those various organic compounds (esters, etc), not from the minerals in the water. I'd guess Islay scotch may be the rare exception, with their "living water" and all.
Quote:
That's a point worth considering but whisky itself is distilled. Whatever minerals are in the water are left in the mash tun. Adding water, even from the original source, is altering the native flavour of the whisky. And adding mineral (flavoured) water from a disparate source is murder.

Maybe it's a good reason to drink malt neat...if you need one.

Whisky is not traditionally drank at cask strength, so I don't think that flies. In the old days, you'd be drinking locally produced whisky and could dilute it to your taste with mostly the same waters used by the distiller. As it moved farther and farther afield, that became less of an option. Using filtered or spring water is as close to the original method as you're realistically going to get. That's more faithful than using distilled water, and would taste better to boot.

It's not a religious ritual to most people. You do the best you can, get the highest quality end product you can reasonably attain. Drinking cask strength out of a quest for purity is odd to me, especially since most distillers are going to dilute their product to their taste at the source. Few would take offense if a consumer's taste led them to slightly dilute the product more, using whatever water they so chose.
post #1791 of 3229
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gibonius View Post

Most, sure. Minerals have a very faint taste in general. Have you ever known a (natural) mineral water to taste particularly strong, much less anything like an aged liquor? Distilled water tastes bad because we unconsciously notice the lack of minerals, but most decent "clean" waters are going to taste very very similar unless they're deliberately stocked with extra minerals (or contaminated with sulfur, etc.)

Well, I understand but how many source waters are spring fed? I could be wrong but very few from what I understand. So, if for instance distilleries are drawing from the river Spey, how pure and how clean tasting is that going to be, do you suppose? It's interesting to note that some source waters are for ale...best bitters, for instance come from heavily mineralized waters like Burton-on-Trent which is heavy on epson salts and gypsum. Gonna be a distinct taste there and the ale isn't even distilled.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gibonius View Post

Most of the difference in flavor from cask strength to the final, diluted, form comes from altering the concentrations of those various organic compounds (esters, etc), not from the minerals in the water. I'd guess Islay scotch may be the rare exception, with their "living water" and all.

Whisky is not traditionally drank at cask strength, so I don't think that flies. In the old days, you'd be drinking locally produced whisky and could dilute it to your taste with mostly the same waters used by the distiller. As it moved farther and farther afield, that became less of an option. Using filtered or spring water is as close to the original method as you're realistically going to get. That's more faithful than using distilled water, and would taste better to boot.

It's not a religious ritual to most people. You do the best you can, get the highest quality end product you can reasonably attain. Drinking cask strength out of a quest for purity is odd to me, especially since most distillers are going to dilute their product to their taste at the source. Few would take offense if a consumer's taste led them to slightly dilute the product more, using whatever water they so chose.

I don't drink cask strength either, nor do I have any objection to adding filtered water or spring water but when Bacon suggested that spring water be added for the flavour of the minerals...well, it's a nonsensical idea in my opinion. If you're relying on those minerals--iron, calcium, magnesium, gypsum, fluoride, sodium, potassium, iodine, sulfur, lead, nitrates...and I've even drank spring water that had arsenic in it...to improve the taste of your dram, I think there's a disconnect somewhere. Maybe it's just a matter of semantics.

I've always used distilled water but I'll try the filtered. Is there a brand, or even brand of spring water, that you would recommend? Here in the states--PNW to be more exact?

And thanks...
post #1792 of 3229
Quote:
Originally Posted by ama View Post


^ This is accurate. In fact, you can even buy these now to get an even more authentic experience whilst sitting on your couch at home: http://www.uisgesource.com

There is also this article which is interesting: http://www.whisky.de/archiv/beginner/mineral.htm

Distilled water ranks behind Evian and Scottish water.

Thank you for the link/citation about water. FWIW, I didn't think it was laughable.

I thought it was interesting, however, that the article said:
Quote:
1) Use distilled and/or deionized water for the adjustment of your whisky to drinking strength, since the neutral taste of the water does not falsify the whisky’s taste. Scottish whiskies, which come at 50 to 60% straight from the cask, are reduced with exactly this water to the demanded bottle strength. The Scottish whisky law prescribes this proceeding compellingly for bottling if you do not bottle close to the water source.

2) Scots exclusively use fresh spring water from domestic origins for the dilution of their most-loved beverage. If you order a whisky in a Scottish pub, you get at the same time a jug with spring water directly from the tap. What would thus be a more proper style than to use Scottish water with the national beverage of the Scots?

I also noted that the Highland Spring bottled spring water has "unusually little mineralization." And since "salt and the hydrogen carbonate have the largest influence on the taste of mineral water" the Evian is the closest to the Highland Spring of those waters that can be commonly found here in the US.

--
Edited by DWFII - 1/10/13 at 6:29pm
post #1793 of 3229
Volvic (3°dH) is much softer than Evian (~20°dH) though. Is Volvic difficult to source in the US?!
Edited by b1os - 1/10/13 at 6:39pm
post #1794 of 3229
Quote:
Originally Posted by aravenel View Post

That sounds awesome. Are you visiting any distilleries? Whereabouts in Scotland will you be going?

Thanks, absolutely. Going to Edinburgh first then wherever.
post #1795 of 3229
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post

Well, I understand but how many source waters are spring fed? I could be wrong but very few from what I understand. So, if for instance distilleries are drawing from the river Spey, how pure and how clean tasting is that going to be, do you suppose? It's interesting to note that some source waters are for ale...best bitters, for instance come from heavily mineralized waters like Burton-on-Trent which is heavy on epson salts and gypsum. Gonna be a distinct taste there and the ale isn't even distilled.

I don't drink cask strength either, nor do I have any objection to adding filtered water or spring water but when Bacon suggested that spring water be added for the flavour of the minerals...well, it's a nonsensical idea in my opinion. If you're relying on those minerals--iron, calcium, magnesium, gypsum, fluoride, sodium, potassium, iodine, sulfur, lead, nitrates...and I've even drank spring water that had arsenic in it...to improve the taste of your dram, I think there's a disconnect somewhere. Maybe it's just a matter of semantics.

I've always used distilled water but I'll try the filtered. Is there a brand, or even brand of spring water, that you would recommend? Here in the states--PNW to be more exact?

And thanks...

I don't think my taste is refined enough to notice a difference between most water, so I really wouldn't be able to say. I use the filtered stuff that comes out of my fridge and have never complained. I don't like the taste of distilled water in general (deionized is even worse) so I've never gone out of my way to buy any, but even then I doubt most people would notice a difference. The whisky itself is going to mask all but the strongest tasting of water.

I think Bacon's point was more that the lack of the minerals in distilled water would make the whisky taste odd. It's certainly possible.
post #1796 of 3229
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gibonius View Post

I think Bacon's point was more that the lack of the minerals in distilled water would make the whisky taste odd. It's certainly possible.

And yet, I would refer you to post 1792 and the article that Ama cited. There's a number of points there that make me wonder....from the assertion that many of not most whiskys are brought to bottling strength by using distilled water, to the suggestion that short of native waters distilled or deionized waters are the least likely to "falsify" the taste of the whisky.

But let me ask you another question...as a chemist--do live in an urban area? Does filtration from your refrigerator remove chlorine? Or fluoride? I may be way behind the times in this--perhaps modern water processing doesn't use chlorine any more...? But fluoride is almost universal.

I've tasted tap water that was terrible and filtering it didn't seem to help much.
post #1797 of 3229
Chlorine evaporates quickly.

IME the simple table filter systems like Brita/BWT are only good to make the water softer for coffee/tea. They don't change the taste a lot (though some of BWT's filters add some Mg+).
post #1798 of 3229
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinnyGoomba View Post

Thanks, absolutely. Going to Edinburgh first then wherever.

May I ask why you're going? To visit family perhaps?

If you get south to Dumfries you might stop in at the Ferintosh Guest House and talk to Robertson. I think I recall him telling me that he spends his holidays visiting distilleries. He's probably been to every one in Scotland half a dozen times and even some that are no longer in business. He might have some recommendations for you about which ones are worth seeing and who to talk to. He runs the B&B there so it's not like you'd be intruding on his privacy or anything.

Dumfries has a pretty strong connection to Robert Burns...IIRC, he spent the last years of his life there so it would be worth the trip in more ways than one.

I envy you. And wish you a good trip.
post #1799 of 3229
It's his/their honeymoon.

Enjoy it, I'm sure you'll have a splendid time.
post #1800 of 3229
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post


Talisker is Isle of Skye and as such it shares some of the same attributes as the other island malts--lots of peat and maybe some iodine and salt.

In some quarters (and on its label) Macallen is touted as a "Highland malt" but really it is one of the better Speysides. As such it has little or no smoke...peat reek. I had an 18 at an Easter brunch one year and ever since I have always called it my "breakfast dram". Sweeter and very easy on the palate. The only Speyside I've found that I like as well (and I've not tasted them all) is Craggenmore 12...some even consider it the best Speyside but as I say I don't have all that great a sample to compare to.

Thanks mate.

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