From what I understand, he may not actually be contradicting himself, but it should probably have read release some of the aromas: we are often told that there are a number of flavor-bearing compounds in bourbon that are not very soluble in water. Once water/ice is added, these come out of solution (as they are no longer soluble in the higher water percentage) and are easier to smell. But clearly, if you keep adding water you will just dilute the whole thing. This post has a couple graphics that suggest this may have some root in reality.
Depends on the time of year and the particular whiskey. In the summer I've come to really love a double OFBIB on a king-cube. The ice melts slowly, the extra proof prevents it from becoming too watery and the coolness is welcome in the heat. Plus it's so cheap that you can bring a bottle to someone's house and leave it behind without any compunction. Other times of year, and with other bourbons I typically enjoy neat or with a small splash of water. When hooch crosses a certain price/rarity threshold I'm more careful about how I enjoy it. For example I don't pour my WLW or PVW20 on the rocks with a big splash of water. I could of course, it's my whiskey, but I'm not certifiably insane, or at least I haven't been certified yet.
I found my way to the bourbon world via single malt scotch, so the habit of drinking neat persisted until very recently. Just in the past year or so, I've been discovering the pleasures of bourbon on ice. It's especially nice at the end of a hot day.
One bit of snobbery I can't let go of - the ice has to be made from distilled water. No tap water in my bourbon, please.
Oddly, I still can't bring myself to enjoy single malts on ice. Something about the flavor doesn't work as well.
trying to walk a straight line,
on sour mash and cheap wine
I rarely ever use ice. I might add water here and there, but I just prefer my whisk(e)y neat at room temp.
Yeah, even in the dead of summer I usually drink it neat. I do have some of those spherical molds though for when the mood does hit.
I think what I was trying to say is that I typically add a cube for a normal pour just to chill it a little. I notice with some bourbons this also enhances the flavor experience. For example, I enjoy EC12 more with a cube of ice than without. However, it doesn't seem like the change (tweak) in flavor is solely related to dilution.
I think what whiskeyobsessive suggests is what I may be noticing. I believe aroma has a very suggestive impact on flavor.
I failed to mention earlier that I do enjoy a few whiskey chilled. I always have an HH BIB 6 yr in the beer fridge for just such occasions. Old Forester Signature is another that works well when chilled.
"Every bottle is its own learning experience." -- Sensei Ox-sama
I like to have my first of a new bourbon neat and decide then if I'll want the next and future pours of that particular bottle neat or with ice.
I agree that ice compliments some pours .. namely OGD114 and many of the barrel proof high rye Four Roses. The more floral FR I prefer neat with water back and maybe add one or two ice cubes. Some bourbons .. higher proof Willetts and the like can be opened up with a cube or two for me.
We got two ETL private barrels in this week and they were just enough proof to be very good. Ice would have wasted it ... as is the case with EC12 and others.
Most PVW's are too precocious for me to add ice ... maybe one cube .. no more.
I guess the deciding factor .. as many of you are saying .. ice is nice if it compliments or adds .. and doesn't detract .. from the flavor
I have read that too much ice will destroy the flavor of bourbon because the dissolved oils "partially congeal." But OGD114, WTRB and other BPs seem to do very well over ice, even with clouding.