My Scotch drinking friend insists that adding a drop or 2 of distilled water (never tap water) will open up the flavour profile and take the edge off high ABV Scotch. I tried this with a couple of rums in my collection that are at 43% ABV and it works. The rum becomes smoother, the extra burn in the nose disappears and the flavour profile shines through. I haven't tried it on standard 40% ABV rums that I found a bit sharp on the nose or harsh on the palate but I am going to give it a try.
I've used tap water before and it seems to enhance flavors and reduce burn. Never used distilled tho. Curious why distilled water would work better. Will try again with distilled and see if I notice a difference. Thanks Earl! Thanks also for your added sugar notes in your ratings. Has helped me "pass" on many oversweetened rums that I probably would have purchased otherwise.
I do recommend trying this for higher ABVs, certainly no lighter than 43%, usually higher. Sometimes it opens up and you do find flavors and aromas that may have been hidden previously. It doesn't always work though. Generally for Scotch, I always recommend neat, with a bit of water, and on ice - stick with what works best for you for any given expression. I almost never go ice with rum by itself, only in cocktails. Haven't tried distilled H2O, I do use filtered tap. Haven't tried straight tap either. Only one way to find out which is truly best....
I've also tried this technique with higher ABV rums, and for me it works as well. Especially some Foursquare that everyone 'loves', but without a few drops of water to me, it's too hot. I often get additional flavours I didn't notice before.
doing this on rum over 55% ABV, for example a velier 69% is really too hot so ... but another example, the doorly s 14 is 48% but still smooth so no water ...
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