Re: How much water?????
dash it ,another newbie (me) , someone made a statement ,in effect ,that the distillers bottle the whiskey as they meant it to be tasted , not true by a long way , the distillers themselve will often use water when tasting,and more importantly they reccomend water if asked (in most cases) , any taster will tell you ,the alchohol content ,particularly above 47% and onward to cask strength has an anaesthetizing effect on our taste senses .
that said , blends are often low enough to be enjoyed ether way and indeed many whiskeys have a good and enjoyable (neat) experience .
Yes ,its down to preference ,its also "trial and error" when it comes to adding water , i will give an example ,a whiskey that may indeed taste great neat ,but just a few drops (literally) dont stir ,then cover for about 10-15 minutes can indeed bring out wonderous flavours we may have never picked out before ,regardless how many times we have the same whiskey.
one of my favourite tipples is Abunadh (aberlour) a cask strength whiskey, 59-61% on average ,yes you can drink it neat ,and get an immediate "kick" but its not as enjoyable as adding a couple of desertspoons of water and a short wait , the results can be staggering ,there are so many flavour sensations to be unlocked , just the right amount of water and it can be superb , but beware ,over do the water and the whiskey will become flat and lifeless very quickly .
I would suggest ,a teaspoon of water for lower % whiskeys ,and 2 or more with higher % versions . lower % and blends are a choice (water or no) its down to preference ,but experament a bit and you will reap rewards ,some whiskeys dont "come alive" until a little water is introduced.
remember ,start with just a few drops ,(never stir) leave to stand (10mins+) and never use tap water .