The Drop that Makes the Dram – Whisky Water News

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The Drop that Makes the Dram

How do you take your whisky?

It’s often the first question you hear after the satisfying sound of the cork leaving the bottle.

The answer is intensely personal and also one of the great pleasures of the drink.

As the Scottish entertainer Chic Murray put it: “There are only 2 rules for drinking whisky. First never take whisky without water. Second, never take water without whisky.”

Now Uisge Source waters make it possible for whisky lovers to get the very best from their single malt scotch whisky by adding specially-selected spring waters bottled by hand, from private sources, close to some of the leading malt whisky distilleries in the key whisky regions of Scotland.

Uisge Source waters, tailored to the whiskies they serve, is an idea that has taken off quickly and they are already on sale in the UK and Europe since their launch in late 2012. And that popularity is spreading fast with more overseas markets set to start selling the waters including Taiwan, Sweden, Germany, Norway, Canada and Macau. There is also considerable interest from whisky enthusiasts in North America.

Experts agree that whisky is best appreciated by adding a dash of water. It creates a chemical reaction in the glass releasing the oils in the whisky and revealing the complexity of hidden flavours and aromas. It also softens the alcohol “prickle” making it easier to enjoy those true flavours.

And the experts will also tell you that the best water to use to enhance your dram is the water that made the whisky or water from the same source with the same chemistry.

Whisky is a product steeped in heritage, provenance and ritual and this new product from Scotland gives connoisseurs the opportunity to enjoy the best of that heritage.

Uisge Source waters have been introduced by Graeme Lindsay who, during his years working for The Glenmorangie Company and Whyte and Mackay, noticed that the same whisky would have a different taste depending on which water was added and wondered why there was no special water for whisky.

He discovered that some Scotch whisky distilleries used to sell small bottles of their water to loyal customers and Major Grant of the Glen Grant Distillery used to host tastings next to the distillery’s water supply where he could literally collect the best water for his dram from the burn.

It is a practice that is not only backed by knowledge and experience, it is also backed by science.

Dr Stephen Cribb, Geologist, Whisky Ambassador and author of Whisky on the Rocks explains that the water used to make whisky influences the character of that whisky. He said: “Adding source water or water with similar properties will ensure that no additional chemical factors are introduced and the character remains unchanged”.

Dr Bill Lumsden, Master Distiller for The Glenmorangie Company agrees:  “It’s the provenance and sense of place which makes Single Malt Whisky so unique. Adding water from the same source can only help protect the integrity of the spirit.”

Too often, little thought is given to the water added to a great dram. Often it is simply local tap water which in many parts of the world is very poor quality and adulterated with chemicals which taint the whisky.

By using Uisge Source waters you are adding ‘more of the same’. So no foreign elements are introduced that might distort the character of the whisky.  Uisge Source waters each have a unique chemistry which means whisky drinkers can also enjoy the benefit of consistency.

The Ardilistry Spring on Islay produces a water with higher natural acidity thanks to filtration through peat, and is the only bottled water from the Scottish Islands.

Many distilleries in the Highland whisky region use hard, mineral-rich water that has spent many years filtering through brittle rock such as red sandstone and limestone. Uisge Source water from St Colman’s Well in Ross-shire has a similar high mineral content and is the most northerly bottled water from the Scottish Highlands.

The Speyside region produces a soft water that has filtered through granite, a very hard rock, so the water has absorbed fewer minerals. Uisge Source from the Cairngorms Well in Moray, one of the highest natural mountain springs in Scotland, provides a very low mineral content water like that used by most of the Speyside distilleries.

They are presented in distinctive 100ml glass bottles which contain enough water for up to 7 drams, roughly the number you might enjoy at a whisky tasting.

The waters have been well received by the whisky community. Whisky writer Jonny McCormick comments: “My take on this is that it should help drinkers get the very best from their whiskies and makes for good discussion. I can see that partnering the whisky with complementary regional water should retain the true and original character of the whisky – an antithesis to my experiences with whiskies dulled by tap water.”

Whisky writer Blair Bowman adds: “When I tasted Uisge Source waters with a group of whisky-loving friends we all agreed that the whiskies tasted better with Uisge Source.”

After all, it is The Drop that Makes the Dram.

For single bottle or gift pack purchase, please visit the following retail points:

Vancouver

Legacy Liquor Store

Victoria

The Strath Liquor Store

Little Jumbo  (to taste with flight of whiskies)

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