Among all organoleptic pursuits there are gadgets, devices, dishes, and glassware designed to heighten, enhance or deliver the substance in question to the human sense organs. Over time, some of these inventions take root and become the preferred means by which the item is to be be consumed and enjoyed while others are seen as fads relegated to the dustbin of history. For the world of whiskey lovers, Teroforma
has declared a solution to the problem of how best to chill whiskey. Assuming that you would want to do such a thing, we decided to investigate.
The Whiskey Stone manufacturer claims that their stones, made in Vermont from natural non-porous soapstone, are more gentle than ice and can be used to cool down your favorite spirits just enough to take the edge off without "closing down" the flavors. Simply store the stones in the freezer for at least 4 hours before use, then add 3 stones to a glass with 2oz of whiskey and let stand 5 minutes. Moreover, the stones will not inadvertently scratch glassware and they are "particularly effective at retaining cold for extended periods of time."
While the claims that the stones impart no flavour, are non-porous, non-reactive, and won't inadvertently scratch glassware are sound, the claim that they are effective at retaining cold for extended periods did not reflect our collective experience with the stones. To resolve the matter, we set out to determine the cooling rates of ice, the traditional chilling method for whiskey, and Whiskey Stones so as to better understand the degree to which both chill a standard 2oz pour of whiskey and how long the dram stayed chilled. Running a series of measurements, ice was found to cool a dram faster and for a longer period than Whiskey Stones.
Having established the rates of cooling, we opened our discussion about the impact of Whiskey Stones on the enjoyment of a dram to our readership by means of a survey to shed light on the following: do readers chill their whiskey? How and under what circumstances do they chill whiskey and when might someone wish to use Whiskey Stones over ice? Finally, how many readers actually use them and think they're a necessary substitute to ice?
The essay below combines the empirical chilling data, analysis of the survey results and elucidation of ScotchBlog.ca's internal consensus to determine that Whiskey Stones provide little to no utility for the whiskey enthusiast.