The Best Whiskey Stones - what are they, where do they come from and why should you use them?
The best whiskey stones have the ability to transform a drink. They take the harsh, sometimes burning sensations of undiluted whiskey and soften the rough edges, whilst enhancing the subtle flavours that usually only the true connoseurs would notice.
Really great whiskey stones stay cold, improve the experience and become a part of the ritual.
Cold rocks and whiskey - a time honoured combination
In the 15th century, Scots discovered the beautiful intricacies of fermenting malted grains. Scotch whisky was born. In order to keep their drinks cool, Scotsmen broke chippings from volcanic rock, cooled beneath the peat of the highlands and placed them into their tipple.
Chilling the drink allows the connoseur to experience the changing temprement of the spirit. The experts at ScotchWhisky.com explain: "Chilling suppresses the top notes, such as citrus and honey, while the bass notes, such as oak and peat, appear to be emphasised." This doesn't mean that the whisky has been fundamentally changed, it is merely the affect of the cold temperature on the tongue of the drinker.
As the whiskey warms naturally, warmed by the heat of the palm on the glass, the flavours develop and emerge from deep within the drink. Some say the drink becomes sweeter, others that it exposes its more lingering tang.
What are whiskey stones made from?
Various types of whisky stones are available. We make ours out of soapstone. Despite its name, soapstone is tasteless and does not emit a smell. It is formed by he immense head and pressure of the earth's plates as the crush against each other and move over time.
Without this metamorhic rock, human civilisation wouldn't be where it is today. It was soapstone that allowed us to leave the stone age behind and entire the iron age, carving molds for tools from the same rocks we now chizzle down to size to make our best-selling whisky stones.
Why are whiskey stones better than water?
Distilling whisky is a craft. It takes artisans years to perfect the perfect recipe, balancing subtle flavours and achieving the perfect level of dilution. Some whisky drinkers like to add a dorp of water to their glass (leading to a creamier flavour) but even then, less is more and the drinker should be in full control.
As ice melts, it dilutes the drink - destroying the craft of the distiller. Whiskey stones do not melt and do not dilute; leaving the drinker in charge of the experience.
Whiskey or whisky?
Either. Both. It doesn't really matter. In Ireland and America, it's spelt with the "e". In Scotland, it's spelt without. It all comes down to the way it was translated from Gaelic. The Americans spell it the Irish way because the drink was first taken across the Atlantic by Irish settlers.
Looking for a whiskey stone gift? Try these two:
How is whiskey made?
We could write an entire article about this. Or we could just show you this video from the Discovery Channel. So we'll just do that.