I now almost never use water, and the phrase "opening up" is a complete mystery to me.
I agree wholeheartedly.
As I posted elsewhere, I recently had to wade my way through 13 SMWS samples to assess them and decide which ones were worth ordering for the Australian branch.
I was very careful to analyse each whisky, one at a time...nose, palate, finish, and then repeat the exercise after adding a few drops of water.
I can say with confidence that only one
whisky appeared to improve with the addition of water. So a success rate of 1 in 13 is hardly inspiring!
I used to believe that a few drops of water would "open up a whisky" if its nose was tightly locked, but I'm not even sure of that anymore. Two of the SMWS malts had noses that were very locked and difficult to find or recognise any obvious descriptors. The addition of water only dulled the nose further and made my task harder.