The Washington Post has an article on the merits or otherwise of adding water to your whiskey. Most “whiskey drinkers” I know don’t. They take theirs neat. The article below goes into a detailed scientific examination of the pros and cons from a flavour compounds point of view.
Personally, though I don’t drink that much whiskey these days, I always water mine. Why? Because I used to work for Irish Distillers. There I worked with professional whiskey tasters (among other things they had the job of checking the newly blended batches against reference samples). One of the things I was told by them is you always water your whiskey. They didn’t have some fancy justification based on detailed analysis of the outputs of a gas chromatograph.
No, the reason is that undiluted 40% whiskey overwhelms your taste buds, so you can’t actually appreciate the flavours of the drink. The “purists” who drink their whiskey neat actually never get to properly appreciate what they are drinking because they have effectively concussed their palate!
Funnily enough the scientific analysis came the the same conclusion (it is better to water) but for different reasons.
Can we consider the discussion closed on this on then?
The best way to drink whiskey, according to science
Scotch drinkers say adding water makes the spirit taste better, and a new study shows why.