Whisky Magazine Issue 10
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New madness from the European Commission about controls on water, and even its taxation, threatens the long standing water rights of Scottish distilleries. This is being vigorously opposed by the Scotch Whisky Association. Appropriately, news of it arrived on our desk shortly after we had received Malcolm Greenwood's article about the importance of water in whisky production (see page 24).
On a related theme, we have recently received a clutch of enquiries about whether water should be added to whisky (or do real men drink it neat?), how much, what kind of water, etc. The answer is, of course, to enjoy your dram as you choose, with or without water - add Coke or milk, if you like it that way - but for a full appreciation of whisky, a little water is almost always essential.
First there is the quality of the water. It should be still, not sparkling, and cool, not chilled, because chilled water closes down the aromas in the spirit, the same way as ice does. It has long been maintained that the best water for diluting should be the same source of water used to make the whisky in the first place. This can be difficult to come by. Fifteen years ago I was told that some connoisseurs in the Speyside whisky capital of Elgin would swap a quarter bottle of Scotch for two litres of Glenlivet spring water, such was its reputation. Mind you I wasn't told what the whisky was.
The next best thing to production water is Scottish water, either from the tap if you happen to be here or bottl...