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Water In Scotch


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#1 exchemist

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Posted 18 August 2017 - 03:11 PM

I've just noticed the item on the science behind adding a splash of water to Scotch: http://blogs.discove...er#.WZdUua2ZMxc

 

Seems to make sense, but perhaps most for the Islay malts (e.g. Laphroaig and  - my own favourite - Bowmore) that have such a high concentration of phenolics. I just wish these American journos could spell Scotch whisky correctly.

 

I've just got back from a week in Scotland, which involved climbing a mountain - Ben Arthur - beside a rushing burn, cascading the brown, peaty  water that gives these malts their distinctiveness. I'd forgotten how magical an experience it can be. Even better in the evening, when sipping one of these malts after the climb. I was taught at university to add a little splash of water - still or sparkling - to good Scotch. Nice to see after all these years that it has a basis in fact. 



#2 Farming guy

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Posted 18 August 2017 - 04:58 PM

 I was taught at university to add a little splash of water - still or sparkling - to good Scotch. Nice to see after all these years that it has a basis in fact. 

Perhaps I now know why I never took a liking to scotch.  That lesson was absent from my university!  I feel shortchanged.



#3 DrKrettin

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Posted 19 August 2017 - 04:06 AM

. I was taught at university to add a little splash of water - still or sparkling - to good Scotch. Nice to see after all these years that it has a basis in fact. 

 

Alright for some - I was one of those oiks that could not afford any whisky at university, let alone a decent one.



#4 exchemist

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Posted 19 August 2017 - 05:01 AM

Alright for some - I was one of those oiks that could not afford any whisky at university, let alone a decent one.

......Cue the "Four Yorkshiremen" sketch....... :)


Edited by exchemist, 19 August 2017 - 05:02 AM.


#5 exchemist

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Posted 19 August 2017 - 05:08 AM

Perhaps I now know why I never took a liking to scotch.  That lesson was absent from my university!  I feel shortchanged.

My tutor liked his drink and sometimes spiced up our tutorials a bit. But with peaty whisky, it helps to have gone up a few Scottish mountains in one's youth. If you have, it brings back memories.  I've just reinforced my own by a physical visit, so I'm hoping the odd whisky in the winter evenings will be the more pleasurable for it. But I don't drink it often - a bottle of Bowmore lasts me about 2 years.



#6 Buffy

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Posted 19 August 2017 - 01:45 PM

I am jealous about your trip. I've hiked a little there, but mostly right in Edinburgh.

 

I have never understood "a splash" let alone ice in an expensive whisky. Seems sacrilegious, but who am I to argue with chemistry?

 

My weaknesses are Glenmorangie and Cragganmore.

 

 

And don't blame the Americans for spelling: Bourbon is not Scotch, so it should be spelled differently.

 

 

There are few more impressive sights in the world than a Scotsman on the make, :phones:

Buffy



#7 exchemist

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Posted 19 August 2017 - 03:27 PM

I am jealous about your trip. I've hiked a little there, but mostly right in Edinburgh.

 

I have never understood "a splash" let alone ice in an expensive whisky. Seems sacrilegious, but who am I to argue with chemistry?

 

My weaknesses are Glenmorangie and Cragganmore.

 

 

And don't blame the Americans for spelling: Bourbon is not Scotch, so it should be spelled differently.

 

 

There are few more impressive sights in the world than a Scotsman on the make, :phones:

Buffy

Yes Irish whiskey is spelt that way too. But not Scotch. I know Glenmorangie of course but not Cragganmore. I see it is a Speyside one. 

 

A splash is - to my way of thinking - adding an amount of water less than a third of the volume of whisky, so it does not cut it too severely. But it does make a difference I think. Less fiery but more flavour. 

 

Here is something about Ben Arthur, which we climbed: https://en.wikipedia...ki/The_Cobbler 

 

And here is the music to listen to, as you drive along the winding roads among the mountains in the Highlands: knopfler mist mountains


Edited by exchemist, 19 August 2017 - 03:41 PM.


#8 exchemist

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Posted 20 August 2017 - 03:45 AM

OK, just to add some real chemistry,  I've finally got round to looking up guaiacol, which is said to be one of the family of phenolics responsible for the flavour. This is a rather simple molecule: ortho- methoxyphenol.

 

Structure here: https://upload.wikim...62/Guaiacol.png



#9 hazelm

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Posted 20 August 2017 - 08:52 AM

I am jealous about your trip. I've hiked a little there, but mostly right in Edinburgh.

 

I have never understood "a splash" let alone ice in an expensive whisky. Seems sacrilegious, but who am I to argue with chemistry?

 

My weaknesses are Glenmorangie and Cragganmore.

 

 

And don't blame the Americans for spelling: Bourbon is not Scotch, so it should be spelled differently.

 

 

There are few more impressive sights in the world than a Scotsman on the make, :phones:

Buffy

And absolutely never argue with a Scotsman.  You can't win as my Scots grandmother (and I with her genes) have proven over and over and over.  We just don't quit until you're worn down and out.

 

I, too, envy those who get to go to Scotland.



#10 hazelm

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Posted 20 August 2017 - 08:58 AM

Thank you, exchemist.  Beautiful music.



#11 exchemist

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Posted 20 August 2017 - 12:28 PM

Thank you, exchemist.  Beautiful music.

Yes, I don't know the background to Knopfler's writing of the music for "Local Hero", but he seems to have captured, quite eerily, the magic of aspects of my childhood holidays, which were spent on the edge of Argyll in the SW Highlands.

 

The whole film is affectionately evocative of that part of the world, in a slightly surreal way (though the location they used for shooting the film was actually in the NE Highlands, I believe.). I makes me feel very nostalgic. 

 

The theme in the piece I linked to is actually adapted by Knopfler from a traditional bagpipe tune. Here are the Scots Guards playing the original:

 


Edited by exchemist, 20 August 2017 - 12:28 PM.


#12 hazelm

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Posted 20 August 2017 - 12:39 PM

Thanks.  That came through even better.  Hazel



#13 BanterinBoson

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 09:41 PM

I've just noticed the item on the science behind adding a splash of water to Scotch: http://blogs.discove...er#.WZdUua2ZMxc

 

Seems to make sense, but perhaps most for the Islay malts (e.g. Laphroaig and  - my own favourite - Bowmore) that have such a high concentration of phenolics. I just wish these American journos could spell Scotch whisky correctly.

 

I've just got back from a week in Scotland, which involved climbing a mountain - Ben Arthur - beside a rushing burn, cascading the brown, peaty  water that gives these malts their distinctiveness. I'd forgotten how magical an experience it can be. Even better in the evening, when sipping one of these malts after the climb. I was taught at university to add a little splash of water - still or sparkling - to good Scotch. Nice to see after all these years that it has a basis in fact. 

 

Thanks for posting.  That makes sense!

 

Btw, Laphroaig 10yr is my fav.  I tried Bowmore once and it was seemingly just as good for half the price.  I'll have to give it a more thorough examination soon ;)

 

Caol ila is another I like as well as a blend of the same known as Peat Monster.  The Ardbegs are good, but a little over the top in my opinion.

 

I'm sure glad I ran into you exchemist!  Got a good feeling about the future.  On that note, I'm off to have a dram  :beer-fresh:



#14 sanctus

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 05:04 AM

What impressed me is that Ben Arthur is called a mountain (only 884m and I grew up in the Alps), but then I googled for images of it and it actually looks like a mountain indeed



#15 exchemist

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 05:37 AM

What impressed me is that Ben Arthur is called a mountain (only 884m and I grew up in the Alps), but then I googled for images of it and it actually looks like a mountain indeed

Well yes. If you are over 60 and have torn menisci in your knees, then an 884m climb (from sea level) is about enough for a day - it's the descent that gets you: I came down parts of it backwards, to take the load off my knees.  It was a lovely and will remain in my store of happy memories of the Highlands. I don't know how many more of those I shall be able to do.