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  1. #1
    Advanced Taster
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    who "cuts" their whiskey?

    i've recently been trying whiskey, mostly higher proof cut with a touch of water. it seems like in some whiskies anyway, that it opens up the flavors. sort of loosens a tightly packed taste that normally straight up, wouldnt be found or as noticeable. from now on, i intend on trying almost all whiskey cut with water. now when i say cut, i mean mabe 10% water.
    now i wouldnt add water to say, basil hayden or old charter 10 yr, seems like this technique works best on either older, higher proof or fuller flavored whiskey.
    just enough to do what it has to do. anyway, my question. who all does this, and if you do add water how much? and what labels do you recomend most with water?
    "Always carry a large flagon of whisky in case of snakebite and furthermore always carry a small snake."
    W.C. Fields (1880-1946)

  2. #2
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    Re: who "cuts" their whiskey?

    It varies for me. I do tend to add a few drops to higher proofers. But not always, it depends on my mood. I would agree that it does change the spirit, almost always nicely.

    I've heard some scotch guys say the reverse, as it goes for age and water (i.e. the younger, the more water).

    -Lear

  3. #3
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    Re: who "cuts" their whiskey?

    Water should be added according to your taste. That being said, I've noticed that high-proof whiskeys do tend to open up a bit with just a small splash of water - yet I like it just as much neat. Sometimes I add water, sometimes not.

    The quality of the water also matters. If I add water, I normally use my town's tap water (piped in from Chicago) run through a reverse osmosis filter.
    Oh no! You have walked into the slavering fangs of a lurking grue!

  4. #4

    Re: who "cuts" their whiskey?

    I almost never add water, unless I'm trying to equalize proofs for comparatively tasting. Not infrequently, however, if I'm not in the mood for whiskey neat, I'll add (diet) cola or ginger ale, or fix a mixed drink. I do that with ANY bourbon. I realize some consider it sacrilege to, for example, drink a Stagg and Coke, and I'll not try to change anyone's mind if they don't want to do that. But what I've purchased is MY whiskey, and I thus drink it whatever way I want to when the spirit moves me -- which, most the time, is neat.
    Tim

  5. #5
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    Re: who "cuts" their whiskey?

    Quote Originally Posted by TNbourbon View Post
    II realize some consider it sacrilege to, for example, drink a Stagg and Coke, and I'll not try to change anyone's mind if they don't want to do that.
    I've never tried Stagg and Coke - but I have mixed a Manhattan with Stagg.

    It was quite good - and the Stagg character clearly showed in the drink! However, it went down a little too easily.
    Oh no! You have walked into the slavering fangs of a lurking grue!

  6. #6
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    Re: who "cuts" their whiskey?

    Personally I think the whiskey totally dictates what it needs. For example there is not a Van Winkle that I've added water too and found any improvement, but last night I was drinking Willett Estate Rye and found it to be way too harsh straight; however upon adding enough water to proof it down to maybe 110 it opened up and was truly an exceptional whiskey.

    Plain and simple if it seems tight or constrained, splash some water in and see what happens, but not too much!

    I ain't going to pretend to know much about scotch, but am pretty sure most are already lower proofs than typical bourbon, i.e. they run closer to 80 proof than 100; therefore watering it down would probably make it even worse.

    And ...... Tim, diet cola of all things??? Oh my!
    C

    "everybody defamates from miles away
    but face to face
    they haven't got a thing to say"

  7. #7
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    Re: who "cuts" their whiskey?

    Quote Originally Posted by Virus_Of_Life View Post
    I ain't going to pretend to know much about scotch, but am pretty sure most are already lower proofs than typical bourbon, i.e. they run closer to 80 proof than 100; therefore watering it down would probably make it even worse.
    There are a fair number of cask-strength Scotches on the market now, and non-chillfiltered bottlings (which generally need to be at least 46% ABV) have become more common in recent years. In general, small amounts of water work well with these.

    Mass-market Scotches tend to be 40% or 43%, though.

    It's kind of ironic to see non-chillfiltered whisky make a comeback - so the story goes, chillfiltering came about because a shipment of Scotch got left out in the cold during a dockworkers' strike, and the recipient sent it back because the cold bottles were hazy and thus must have been spoiled. Now, "non-chillfiltered" has become a mark of distinction.
    Oh no! You have walked into the slavering fangs of a lurking grue!

  8. #8
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    Re: who "cuts" their whiskey?

    Well, yes and no. I never add water to drop the proof. If I don't feel like drinking Stagg or Handy at full proof I choose a lower proof bottling or on rare occasions drink it at 4 to 1 water to whiskey with plenty of ice. Some might consider that to be sacrilege.

  9. #9
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    Post Re: who "cuts" their whiskey?

    Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't.

    When I do cut it, I will use different things. Sometimes water, sometimes ice, very occasionally something such as Perrier.

    Tim
    Self-Styled Whisky Connoisseur

  10. #10
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: who "cuts" their whiskey?

    I generally cut anything above 107 proof. How much? "A splash" is as close as I can come to defining it.

    As for whether or not water "opens it up," Jim Murray and others who drink a lot of both American and Scottish whiskey say that American whiskey is already so "in your face" that water has little effect in that regard. I'll take their word for it. I don't drink enough scotch to be able to compare. Also, they say that if you're adding water to "open it up," you only need a drop or two. Obviously, that doesn't lower the proof significantly.

    When I am tasting something for purposes of a review, I generally will taste it at full proof, add a "splash" of water, taste it again, add another splash, and maybe even do that a third time. You do get some different flavors with each dilution.

 

 

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