When it comes to enjoying whisky, or the ‘water of life’, there are certain rules that we follow when we think of the final taste. While we accept that an older whisky will be more complex, we also realise that a little added water might be just right for one dram but may ruin another. Even the wood of the cask makes a significant difference to the taste, and chilling a good whisky with ice is borderline sacrilege for some. But what about the room you sup in?

According to a new study carried out by researchers at the University of Oxford, the ambience of where you try a new whisky can greatly impact on how you believe it tastes. The research, which took place at a tasting event in London, took volunteers unaccustomed to whisky drinking and gave them the same 12 year old whisky in three separately designed rooms. While one room had a turf floor and the sound of sheep playing, another had high pitched tinkling sounds and rounded red ornamentation (which apparently makes people think of sweet things), while the final room was wood panelled and had the sound of a crackling fire to set the scene. As you can imagine, the first room produced descriptions of a grassy, fresh flavoured whisky, while the second was described as sweet and the third room left a woodier aftertaste; one which was favoured by most participants.

On a basic level, we all appreciate that certain designs or styles compliment the enjoyment of food or drink. This is why we work with the Scottish Whisky Heritage Centre on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. The music we provide to their Amber Restaurant is just one of the elements that goes into complimenting their huge range of whisky and great food. As lead researcher, Charles Spence, has said "Having one without the other, you get something that is never going to be as much as if you combine all the elements." We hope that by tailoring music specifically to compliment your business, we help you get a little closer to the perfect combination.

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