The type of water you add to your whisky can affect the taste of your drink. We know, it sounds like a whole lot of propagated phooey trickled down from super snobs to further alienate mass consumers, but think of it this way: If the brand of tonic you have with your gin can change the taste of your cocktail, why shouldn’t the same chemistry apply to whisky and water?
Depending on the source and the treatment of the water, be it distillation or purification, the resulting liquid can be more or less mineral, acidic, alkaline, or metallic. Try mixing a bottle of Fiji, versus tap water when sampling your next whisky. You are guaranteed to notice a tangible shift in taste. A handful of companies, like Uisge and Franklin & Sons, have bottled specialty waters from springs in Scotland for consumers who want to enjoy a whisky and water at its finest, but the market has been a tad lean for the American whiskey spectrum, until Old Limestone stepped in.
Two Kentuckians, Doug Keeney and Barry Gluck, have a staunch love for bourbon and branch — a Southern classic made with bourbon and a splash of limestone filtered water. The duo believes that regular tap water tarnishes the taste of the whiskey they enjoy, and so set out to bottle Kentuckian limestone-filtered spring water.
A bottle of Old Limestone is naturally infused with calcium and magnesium, and bereft of iron, which corrupts the mash that makes the liquor. It is the exact type of water used to produce bourbons, right down to its pH level of 5.6 — aligning with the philosophy used by Scotch distillers as well, where the best water for a whisky is as close to the source as possible.
A one-litre bottle of Old Limestone costs S$10. That is about 10 times the cost of a regular pint of neutral-tasting mineral water you can probably buy at the supermarket, which most experts recommend you mix with whisky anyway. Yet, those who’ve reviewed Old Limestone swears it elevates the whiskey, making it creamier and the notes more pronounced. You can also freeze it to make ice.
Its worth is predicated on how much you love your bourbon. If that love is enough for you to purchase a dedicated mixing water, we’ll drink to that.