Life & Style

Drink scotch with water as it improves taste

August 21, 2017 05:10 AM

Adding water to Scotch improves taste, boosts flavours, and unleashes aromas, says study

Whiskey lovers have argued over this for centuries: is the brew better neat or with water? Science now has the answer. A team of Swedish scientists claim to have found definitive proof that Scotch always tastes better with water.

David Williamson, of the Scotch Whisky Association, said that adding water also helps prevent an overwhelming taste of alcohol masking more delicate, complex flavours. “The other factor is reducing the alcohol sensation on the nose and tongue,“ he said. Science is still not clear on how much water is enough but it's probably wise not to use a heavy hand.

Published in the journal Scientific Reports, the study suggests that adding water boosts the concentration of flavour compounds at the surface of the drink, helping to unleash the rich mix of aromas.

Björn Karlsson, a chemist at Linnæus University in Sweden and and his co-author, Ran Friedman, wanted to test the idea that adding water to whisky improved the taste and aroma.“Neither of us are big whisky drinkers,“ he said. “But we were interested in the chemistry.“

Whisky's distinctive taste comes about by a combination of the distillation of fermented grains, ageing and then dilution. Distilled malt whiskies typically contain around 70% alcohol by volume before they are aged in barrels for at least three years. Some alcohol evaporates during the maturation, resulting in an alcohol content of 55-65% for cask-strength whisky.Before bottling, the whisky is diluted to around 40% by the addition of water, a process called “cutting“, which further changes the taste.

However, the Linnaeus University team concluded that a dash of water is still needed after the spirit is poured to get the best flavour. David Williamson, of the Scotch Whisky Association, said that adding water also helps prevent an overwhelming taste of alcohol masking more delicate, complex flavours. “The other factor is reducing the alcohol sensation on the nose and tongue,“ he said.

Science is still not clear on how much water is enough but it's probably wise not to use a heavy hand.

A GLASS OF WINE CAN INSPIRE YOU

A glass of wine or a pint of beer helps unleash creativity, scientists say.“Previous research has found almost half of the great writers had a history of drinking. We found that a small drink can indeed help with certain aspects of creativity,“ Dr Mathias Benedek, lead researcher said.Don't reach for the morning Merlot yet; as Benedek explained that moderate drinking could make focused work a little more difficult.

 

Have something to say? Post your comment