When I was introduced to single malt (Glenfiddich 12y.o. special reserve) by a friend he gave it to me with ice and coke, but he did not tell me what it was. I like it, but as the night got on we drank it neat. I have given friends who have never had malt and told them that it should be drank neat, all of them did but only one wanted to put water in it as she said it was too strong fro her.
But this offering to a guest also works the other way around!
Specially true in the US, I was a guest on a party and the host ask me what I like to drink- choices were beer, wine, bourbon whisky and single malt. I noticed that he was drinking the whisky with several ice cubes. Now I have a dilemma. If I ask for auchenstoshan neat, he might think I am a whisky snob (like a lot of people here ). So the most right thing to say is, whisky with one ice cube please. And after the first dram I usually get to pour my own so I can have it neat.
Now lets assume the host has a bar with a shelf full of single malt whiskies. I then assumed he must know his whisky. He offers me a glenffidich. I ask for a neat dram, the host breaks with a smile with the comment that I know how to drink whisky. Thats a good way of starting a conversation.
I sometimes drink whisky and indeed whiskey neat, and used to always do so when younger, BUT I usually prefer it with ice. I seldom dilute with water. 50cc of whiskey, 3 ice cubes. That's the recipe. That maximises the flavour in my experience. I do so equally with Scotch and Irish. Paddy whiskey, a cheap Irish one is a little bit rough (like a Scotch) neat, but really improves with ice. The only Whiskey I've come across that I prefer neat is Midleton Very rare. This is a very subtly flavoured ultra-smooth expensive whiskey with a fantastic aftertaste. Even better than Laphroaig in that respect. Whiskey is my main tipple and I probably drink 40 + bottles a year. I'm no alkie however, being a very measured drinker...so far!!
To each there own. The very first few drams I had, I put a couple of ice cubes in it. Then instead of ice, I switched to water. That didn't last long, then just a splash of water. Now, nothing. I feel as if I couldn't anymore as it would definate effect the taste to much. But, really whatever floats you boat I say!