Whisky Stones review
Please be aware. The opinions made in this review are purely mine. And as with any smell/taste experience it is all based on the individuals experience and perception. Some may agree some may not. The reality is we all have different taste buds and olfactory senses.
I was recently given some Whisky Stones for my birthday. (Thanks Ian and Caroline!). As it has been particularly hot recently and Whisky sampling has been harder and harder to enjoy because of the temperature I thought it an ideal time to have a play with the stones and drop a little opinion forward.
So. Starting off, Whisky stones are little cubes made from stone! Generally made from non-porous soapstone, these cubes when put in your freezer will retain the cold when submerged in your drink of choice. Chilling the drink, but not imparting any of itself into the drink, diluting or otherwise tampering with the flavour of your beverage.
Therefore if your Whisky is warm and you want to chill it down a little without the addition of any side effect (dilution with ice water) these should be ideal for you.
The thing I have noticed the most about drinking Whisky during the hot weather is the intensity of the alcohol on the nose. Even with the Whisky being at 40% and usually very easy to nose. The warm temperatures increase the alcohol evaporation (I guess!) and therefore the nose has a lot more of the burn you would identify with higher strength whiskies. I guess this demonstrates what others have described as a change in experience when drinking Whisky in warmer climates. As I have tried several in the run up to this test I have honestly experienced different levels of this nose burn effect, some of the whiskies actually benefit in the aromas given off, some of them become completely masked with the alcohol burn. This is going to add a whole level of complication with the experiment and no doubt will lead to alternative results depending on the Whisky used!
My experiment is as thus. I wanted to be as scientific as I can with this experiment. Therefore I chose a Whisky that I am familiar with and one which I would not want to add any water to. After consideration and tasting checks 🙂 I went with Glenfiddich 18 year old.
I’m not going to review the Whisky. I’m not going to give tasting notes. They are in another blog post.
I’m pouring 3 equal measures (approx 30ml) of Glenfiddich 18 into 3 glencairn glasses. Having a wee nose and taste of glass 1, then adding 2 two stones straight from the freezer into glass 2. And four stones straight from the freezer into glass 3. I will then proceed to nose and taste all 3 side by side and compare the differences in intensity and accuracy of nose and taste.
The nose is intense. The burn effect extreme. But not sticking the nose so far into the glass (as with cask strength whiskies and common sense) helps you to appreciate the aromas. The aromas are all there and familiar. It’s a lovely dram.
The taste also hampered by the burn which seems more intense again by the warmer Whisky. I find an added fizziness to the Whisky which isn’t normally present. And I’m afraid to say a somewhat generic taste. I don’t know if its just me, or if my hay fever is having some effect. But whiskies taste more the same to me in this hot climate?! I’m hoping that’s just me!
Glasses 2 and 3.
Stones added. Photo quickly taken. Nosing and tasting progresses. Interesting.
So. Logic is straightforward. The more stones the lower the temperature of the Whisky.
With four stones the Whisky is chilled. Not freezing but nicely chilled. As you would probably expect when ice is added to a dram someone bought for you who didn’t know better! It’s also very very closed. By this I mean the nose (and I’m getting my nose right in there!) is minimal. I’m getting a little of the fruit. But not a great deal of complexity or intensity. The taste. Ditto! As the Whisky warms in your mouth the development moves forward but the initial tastes of what should be quality Whisky is dampened. Almost as if it had been watered down!
With two stones. It’s more like it! My nose is right in there and I don’t have the alcohol burn of the warm Whisky but the complexity is there. The variation is there. It’s the Whisky I remember from spring! As with the palate. The fuzziness of the warm Whisky is subsided and the flavour bursts all over the place. The flavours as intense as I remember and the finish more accurate with my original tastings.
Stones are good! I’m still not convinced that Whisky in summer is the greatest plan. (I’m hot and bothered now! Lol). But if you fancy a dram and are finding the warmer weather incompatible with that beverage then a couple Whisky stones in your glass could very well help you enjoy! Overdo the stones and you will temporarily paralyse your Whisky!
Trial and error is the key to this one.
I’ll continue to experiment with other dram and stone combinations and if I find anything worth mentioning will amend this post.
Two stones or not two stones? (Or even possibly four?)
That is the question.
Addition. Some things to take note of.
1. Whisky stones are hard. Don’t drop them in your glass. As you may chip or smash your glass. I haven’t done this yet so don’t laugh! 😛
2. Despite the stones looking wet. They are not claiming much if any of your Whisky. I know. I have licked them thoroughly and cannot taste much in the way of alcohol! Well. It concerned me anyway! Lol.
3. Don’t repeat the above experiment too many times in one night with different drams. It’s interesting. But. It will get you tipsy! Drink responsibly. Please?!