Should you add water to Whisky?

Whisky on the rocks

Should you add water to Whisky?

Regarding the act of tasting a Scotch or Irish Whisky, there are several perspectives on how to do it. Although there are some basic “rules” about drinking and properly appreciate this beverage, concerning the addition of water or ice, the famous Whisky on the rocks (in the case of the ice), the views are not consensual. While some prefer to feel the pure taste of Whisky, others consider that adding water or ice can help improve its aromas and flavors.

However, there are some guiding ideas that can help you decide whether or not to add water or ice, and in which occasions you should do it.

Whisky on the rocks – when to add water or ice

Whisky is a beverage with a high degree of alcohol. As such, should be appreciated with moderation. For this reason, some people like to add water, in order to lower the alcohol content or simply to make the flavor milder. But how should a whisky be served? With or without water? With or without ice? As we said, there are situations where addition of water or ice may be beneficial to improve the taste, depending on the age of the whisky:

  • New Whisky

In the case of an Irish whiskey or Scotch under 12 years, adding a little water will help release some of their flavors or aromas. Of course we are talking about a small amount. Regarding the ice, popular among many people, can have a counterproductive effect because the temperature change can hide some of the whisky’s features.

  • Old Whisky

In relation to an Irish whiskey or Scotch with 15 or more years, which can be already considered old, adding water or ice is not a good idea. These Whiskies already have striking flavors and aromas, which can be disguised with water or ice.


Despite the guidelines we present, you must taste your whisky the way that you appreciate it the most, since it is, ultimately, a manner of personal taste. Therefore, with ice, water or pure, enjoy your whisky.


How do enjoy your whisky – on the rocks, with water or pure?


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