I like a gin or 2, but tend to stick to the 37.5% stuff opposed to the stronger stuff. I don't get any extra taste, just fall over quicker! I understand that for some of the better whiskeys a little bit of water will bring out the taste. At what point does the % become a problem for taste?

  • Could you clarify? If you're drinking a G&T the tonic will clearly dilute the mixture... but then you seem to refer to drinking the spirit straight?
    – David
    Mar 2 '17 at 15:29
  • Good point, what I am trying to ask, possibly awkwardly, is, After what % does the taste stay the same... I will look at my question again and maybe edit, thanks for the comment. Mar 2 '17 at 15:33
  • @David does that edit make things clearer? Hope so, sorry if I misled... Mar 2 '17 at 15:35
  • I do think it's clearer. I'm not sure there's a hard and fast answer though, and it's probably on a sliding scale that includes not just ABV but also flavors and mouthfeel (tannins, etc.) and your BAC: if you've polished off a bottle of wine, the next glass is probably going to taste blander than your first.
    – David
    Mar 2 '17 at 15:40
  • Good point. We have just enjoyed a rather nice white from Lanzarote (Canary Islands), was the last glass different, strangely enough no, but I get your point. However, that is wine not spirits. Mar 2 '17 at 15:45

Your question is a bit broad because the flavour of high ABV spirits, and the intention of the spirits themselves vary widely.

Some alcohols with a high ABV, such as Hungarian Palinka, are sometimes drunk purely for inebriation. They have a high alcohol content mainly to cause the intended effects, not to produce a pleasing drink. These types of spirits are also often flavourless and used to make cocktails with alcohol content.

On the other hand, I've had Scotches that were as high as 60% but very easily drunk neat, and quite pleasing.

So in sum: whether and how someone enjoys a high ABV spirit really depends on the spirit and it's individual qualities.

  • When you drink scotch do you add a touch of water to bring out the flavor? Mar 4 '17 at 3:53
  • I don't but know many who swear by it. I'm not convinced it doesn't just dilute the whisky and make it less 'harsh'. Mar 7 '17 at 16:57

The best advice is to adjust the quantity of the spirit to the percentage of alcohol it contains.

Assuming you drink responsibly, i can assure you that even a 91% spirit can be tasted and enjoyed like a pint of beer.

EDIT: As always, i think i can let the personal experience talks, i tried one of the most powerful alcoholemic recipe i can in Italy, Gocce imperiali and i can assure that if the sip is like 4/5 drops, is enjoyable

  • UM, let me think the cocoroco from bolivia, if I took that with a bit of water then I would 'enjoy' it? Mar 2 '17 at 15:59
  • While I agree in principle, if you have a sip of 91% spirit (even much lower), you should probably wait for your taste buds and nasal passages to recover, which may take a decent while, before tasting anything else that requires any discernment. This taste impairment is quite apart from any intoxication, and I would say that it qualifies as a "problem for taste" that the original question asks for.
    – David
    Mar 2 '17 at 16:02
  • @David in my opinion, some bottles are well known "bombs" and they are produced to be tasted exactly that way, no matter how you have to wait to recover your throat, productors certainly doesn't require you to finish one bottle in half an hour. If you want something softer, there are plenty of other choiches
    – Anon
    Mar 2 '17 at 16:12

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