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What really happens when you dilute whiskey with water

Whiskey enthusiasts often have particular convictions about the way a proper dram should be consumed. The inclusion of water to a poured glass has become a topic of division, with some connoisseurs arguing that the best tasting nips are enjoyed straight. Other drinkers insist that adding water to a neat pour can, in fact, enhance the whiskey experience.

Long before any whiskey has ended up in your hands or behind a bar, it has met the hydrating offender in question, and most likely several times over: Water is used throughout whiskey production, from steeping to fermentation to proofing -- until the label is happy with the taste of the final product. Distilleries often add water to matured whiskey batches, not simply as a money-and-space saving strategy, but to cut stronger-tasting alcohols into a drink that is palatable and delivers a rich mouthfeel for enthusiasts to savor. 

Even just a splash of water can amplify previously undetected flavors. The best part? There's scientific research supporting of the act of dilution.


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