Water of life, without water

Just in time for the season of celebrations, chemists have figured out an answer to that hoary old chestnut - water or not, when drinking whisky. John Piggot, from the University of Strathclyde, Scotland, unlocks the chemical secrets of perhaps the most complicated alcoholic beverage in the world and comes down in favor of personal taste. Whiskies, whether Scotch, Irish, Bourbon, Kentucky, or moonshine, contain hundreds of compounds, including fatty acids, esters, alcohols, and aldehydes, in a wide range of concentrations. Apparently, adding water to whisky does indeed release some flavors, but masks others, while not adding water masks nothing but reveals no additional aromatic notes either.