'Should i add water or ice to my whisky?' is a question that we get asked many times and here we will try to explain how adding water or ice changes whisky in positive and negative ways. The rest is then up to you! Ultimately, what you add to your whisky is all down to personal taste and there are no right or wrong answers. In reality, most whisky that has an alcohol level of between 40 and 45% already has some water added. This process is called 'cutting' and is done before bottling in order to bring the alcohol down to a more acceptable level for the majority of consumers. The water used is usually spring water that is found locally to the distillery.
Many whisky connoisseurs believe that you should not add any water to whisky because then you are tasting it in the natural form with all of the original distillery characteristics and flavours. Again, I say it is personal choice. By adding water to a whisky, you can open up different, new and subtle flavours that you previously hadn't experienced. This is especially true when drinking cask strength whiskies that have higher alcohol levels (this can be up to and over 60% ABV in some cases). With cask strength whisky, the alcohol and resulting burning in your mouth can overpower even the most prominent flavours. By adding some water, this dilutes the alcohol and reduces it's effect, giving both the prominent and more subtle flavours a chance to shine. Imagine drinking orange squash concentrate without any water and then with water... it's essentially the same idea. How much water you add is entirely up to your taste.
Ice is slightly different. Rather than enhancing flavours, it actually inhibits them as the ice makes the temperature of the whisky drop rapidly. It is the same as when you drink a good white wine that has been chilled down too much. It will be refreshing to drink but taste dull and flat - it will only start to open up and reveal its full character once it starts to warm up.