Bowmore's world of water

Bowmore's world of water

Bowmore, Dewar's, Glenglassaugh, Broom honoured

26 April 2013

Publication: Issue 111

Morrison Bowmore, owner of Islay single malt Bowmore, has embarked on an education crusade to teach drinkers about the use of water in their whisky.

Long a devisive subject, the company is stepping up to the plate to say it is OK to add water to your dram, in fact it is positively encouraging it.
However Bowmore is not telling people how they should drink their whisky but insists it is giving whisky-lovers an option to explore and let them make up their own minds.

Rachel Barrie, master blender at Morrison Bowmore Distillers, worked to develop the Bowmore Water Programme.
She said: “Bowmore is an amazingly complex and harmonious whisky with an enigmatic flavour spectrum. The spirit takes the drinker on a sensory adventure through sweetness and ocean spices with multiple layers of fruit and smoke. Adding water allows the drinker to unlock Bowmore’s waves of flavour on a journey through its creation.

“The taste adventure is just beginning.”

Barrie, whose scientific background includes a 1st class Honours degree in Chemistry and a stint as a Research Scientist at the Scotch Whisky Research Institute, explained that when water is added to whisky, certain physicochemical changes occur in the glass some of which you can see, smell and taste. She added: “Viscimetric whorls develop. These are the eddies and threads created when fluids of different viscosities mix.

“As the alcohol and water combine, energy is released and the temperature of the liquid is initially increased by about two degrees celsius (an exothermic reaction), allowing the liquid to open up and release more of the volatile aromas. By reducing the higher alcohol strength, it enables our sense of smell to work better and the aroma paradoxically seems to increase in intensity when first adding water.

“The addition of water and the dropping of the alcohol strength creates a ‘cooling’ effect on the tongue and makes us more receptive to salty and fruity tastes, rather than sweet and spicy.”

Only one thing to do; try it at home.

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