Let the whisky tasting begin. Remember, the object of the exercise is to discover whether the addition of a small amount of water makes the slightest difference to the taste of a non-chill filtered single malt whisky. In the process I will enjoy the flavour of an Australian whisky, Sullivan's Cove Double Cask Single Malt Whisky. Around $100 per bottle, depending on where you get it from, this is certainly not your standard mixer base:
So I gabbed two Luigi Bormioli 'Michelangelo' tumblers and poured a measured 60mm of the whisky into each. Here is the first one:
The other thing to note here is that the 'Michelangelo' tumblers are quite tall, forcing your nose a long way into the glass to get at the whisky. Here is the second one, with exactly 6 drops of water added. The slight difference in colour is only partly due to the water; it's mostly due to a subtly different camera angle.
So the first thing to note is that drinking whisky from these tumblers is a wonderful experience. Because you breath in the whisky long before it reaches your lips, you are already getting a lot of the aromatics through your nose before anything reaches your tongue. The tasting note on the bottle says: " ... a perfect balance between sweet malt and oak that ends with a hint of dark chocolate and rainforest botanic."
So I inhaled a great deal of malt and oak flavours as I snuffled my way into the glass, and, yes, I would have to agree with them, the flavours do seem perfectly balanced. I let the fire of the alcohol settle on my lips and tongue for a few moments, swirled and swallowed. The residual taste in my mouth was very definitely dark chocolate. How remarkable.
But could the addition of a few drops of water possibly improve these exciting flavours? Poisonally I haz gots doubts. Nevertheless, in the spirit of scientific discovery. I went ahead and tried the second one.
The aromas in the glass are very similar, although more distinct, but this time I also detected a faint aroma of wet foliage, which is what they daintily described as rainforest botanic. A beautiful aroma, and very faint. And with the addition of that aroma the whole character of the taste changed.
Tasting the whisky on the tongue provided another subtle change - the whisky is both smoother and more complex, without losing any of the character I tasted in the first one. You almost feel you could chew it, and the chocolate residual taste is slightly more pronounced.
And now as I sit here and write this I have been sipping away at the first one, without the water. Well, what did you think I was going to do with it, tip it down the sink? The flavour smooths as some of the more aggressive volatiles evaporate, but it still doesn't quite approach the flavour of the slightly watered one. I daresay my ability to be objective is somewhat impaired now, but I will be adding a tiny amount of water to this whisky every time I drink it.
And to think I still have several bottles of Australian whisky that need tasting. Wheeee!