Single malt whisky - tasting notes

02 Jul 2010

Duchy Royal Deeside

Tasting notes by Ruben Luyten - Posted in * Other spirits

The weather is currently too hot in Belgium for whisky. In 35°C, water seems to be a better option so let’s talk about adding water to your dram.

In recent years we’ve seen the rise of premium waters. There are water bars and stores specialized in waters from around the world. As I walked through a local supermarket with more than 70 different brands of water, I noticed that some of them were said to be great for diluting whisky. Among them, Gleneagles and this Duchy Royal Deeside.

Duchy is bottled from a source in Royal Deeside, Scotland. It makes sense to use Scottish water as distilleries also tend to use local, natural spring water during the Duchy Royal Deesidedistillation process, so we’re probably not adding foreign elements. Royal Deeside is low in minerals, so again we don’t add possible flavour elements like salts or chloride.

Duchy Royal Deeside (0,0%, OB 2010, still)

Some waters are practically tasteless but Royal Deeside has a taste. It’s difficult to describe but it seems a bit metallic which is surprising as the mineral levels are low. As a drinking water, I would prefer other types.

When diluting a whisky, I don’t notice anything special, which I suppose is exactly what we’re trying to achieve. On the other hand, I don’t think this water is special. I guess any brand of bottled water will do as long as they don’t contain excessive amounts of certain minerals. Or use filtered Brita water like I normally do.

I’ll try to compare with some other brands that claim to be ideal for whisky, but for the moment, I don’t see a reason to search for any kind of special “whisky water”.

If you have other experiences, let’s hear your comments.

Duchy Royal Deeside Ruben Luyten 2010-07-02
  • aw

    Special water for whisky seems way OTT. And I read in one of Anthony Bourdain’s books that the top restaurants are moving away from the “Water Menu” that they once embraced because people realized it was a step too far.

    If a whisky is at 50% or more I’ll water it down to ~48%, otherwise it’s just too strong for my nose and palate. Anything under 50% I won’t water down. I pour some Brita-filtered water into a small pottery jug (made by British saltglaze potter Sarah Walton) and introduce it into the whisky using a pipette (cheap pack of ~10 pipettes from Amazon; a pipette contains ~3ml when full). The stronger the whisky is, the more squirts it gets.

    This works well and doesn’t distort the whisky with any special water taste.

  • Dede

    You should try waters containing a lot of calcium, like Vittel for example. Surprisingly, this kind of water really respect the whisky’s taste, more than a neutral water. I alays use Vittel now to dilute my whisky when it’s necessary.



November 2015
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  • Lindores 2015 festival bottling
  • Amrut 2009 (cask #2701)
  • Glenlivet 1981 (#9468 for TWE)
  • Lagavulin Distillers Edition (2015)
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  • Mortlach 1959/1960 (G&M Royal Wedding)

1932 notes by Ruben

WhiskyNotes - Ruben LuytenThis blog is my personal collection of impressions, written while searching for the ultimate single malt whisky.