If Scotch whisky needs to add water,
it's better add the water for whisky!
Do you add water to your whisky? It's a very personal choice, just like if you add ice to your whisky or not. There is a big difference between adding ice or water to whisky. Adding water can bring out the aromas of the whisky whereas adding ice will close up the aromas. I like to drink it neat and appreciate its flavours slowly, unless the alcohol level is very high (e.g. cask strength or single cask). I had a whisky tasting with Chris Leggat, the representative of independent bottler Douglas Laing in Edinburgh in Scotland and tried 5 of its blended malt whiskies. I also had a great experience to meet with Graeme Lindsay, the representative of Uisge Source, to understand more about the water for whisky!
Douglas Laing blended malt whisky is not blended whisky, for they have not blended with any grain whiskies, but just single malts from different distilleries. I tried 5 different blended malt whiskies at the tasting, including Epicurean from Lowland, Timorous Beastie from Highland, Scallywag from Speyside, Big Peat from Islay and Rock Oyster from the Islands. I like Scallywag the most, which is very balanced with chocolate, honey, raisin, orange zest and spices. Besides, the Scallywag sketch label is also very cute, which is the family Fox Terrier dog of Douglas Laing’s family. Chris showed me the real Fox Terrier photo and I took a picture of it right away. They really look the same! I also like Rock Oyster a lot, which is a blend from 4 islands, with sea-salt, smoky, honey and a hint of peaty notes, which must be a good match for oysters!
Graeme from Uisge Source also shared about the importance of adding the right water to whisky, it's better to use the same region of water for whisky, or the whisky cannot perform at its best. Highland water is hard water with more mineral. By adding it to Highland whisky, the whisky will be more lively. Speyside water is soft water with low mineral. By adding it to Speyside whisky, the whisky will be more rounded. Islay water is more acidic. By adding it to Islay whisky, the peaty whisky will be more expressive. I tried to use Highland water and Islay water with Speyside whisky separately, the difference was not too obvious, but I agreed that Speyside water did make Speyside whisky tasted more rounded. It's a very inspiring experience!
飲威士忌你會不會加水？其實這是很個人的選擇，有如問飲威士忌會不會加冰。加冰跟加水的分別很大，加水會令威士忌的味道開放，加冰會令威士忌的味道鎖緊。我還是喜歡不加水，除非酒精度很高（例如cask strength 或single cask)，因為我喜歡慢慢欣賞它。在蘇格蘭首都愛丁堡(Edinburgh)跟獨立酒瓶廠Douglas Laing的代表Chris Leggat會面，並試了5款𣄃下的混合麥芽威士忌，同場亦認識了專門給飲蘇格蘭威士忌做的蘇格蘭水Uisge Source 代表Graeme Lindsay，亦試了不同區的水加入不同威士忌的效果。
獨立酒瓶廠Douglas Laing的混合麥芽威士忌有別於一般的混合威士忌，因為它並沒有加入穀類威士忌，只是混合了不同廠的單一麥芽威士忌。試了5款混合麥芽威士忌，包括Lowland區的Epicurean、Highland區的Timorous Beastie 、Speyside區的Scallywag、Islay區的 Big Peat及多個小島組合成的Rock Oyster。我最喜歡的是Scallywag，平衡而帶朱古力、蜜糖、提子乾、橙花及香料等。而Scallywag的命名是來自他們家的獵狐爹利小狗，Chris展示了Scallywag小狗的真身，我亦即時以手機拍下，真的跟圖畫一模一樣呀！我另外亦很喜歡由4個小島的威士忌組合而成的Rock Oyster，充滿海洋味、煙燻、蜜糖及少少泥煤味，襯生蠔一定好perfect!
Uisge Source的Graeme亦分享其實飲不同區的蘇格蘭威士忌，是應該配該區的水才最夾，用錯水是會減低威士忌的最佳狀態。例如Highland區的水屬硬水，礦物味重，令Highland威士忌更有生氣，而Speyside 區的水屬較軟水，令Speyside威士忌更圓潤。而Islay區的水酸度比較高，同帶泥煤味的Islay威士忌最夾。而我亦試過分別將Highland的水及Islay的水加入Speyside威士忌，雖然分別不是明顯的大，但Speyside水確是令Speyside威士忌圓潤點，很有趣的一個體驗！