New canned water to be launched to ‘enhance’ whisky

James McIntosh
James McIntosh

A new, wild water is being launched for whisky drinkers who prefer a splash of H2O with their scotch – Larkfire is naturally-sourced water from the Outer Hebrides.

The high quality natural water – which has the ability to enhance the flavour of whisky – taps into the growing trend of ‘premiumisation’ in the drinks industry, where consumers take great pride and care in the preparation of their chosen drink, often prioritising quality above quantity.

Larkfire is the only known canned water specifically for whisky, and has been developed by two whisky enthusiasts who observed people drinking wild water from streams in Scotland.

It will appeal to the expanding premium whisky market, which sees 41 bottles of scotch shipped every second, from Scotland to importers around the world, totalling more than 1.2bn bottles every year or around 30billion servings.[1]

A percentage of the sales from all Larkfire water will flow back into the islands via an agreement with The Stornoway Trust which looks after 69,000 acres of land on the Isle of Lewis from where the water is sourced.

The launch comes after two Swedish chemists published a paper in the Scientific Reports journal in 2017 to prove why whisky tastes better when water is added.

Björn Karlsson and Ran Friedman’s research revealed that adding water boosts the concentration of flavour compounds at the surface of the drink, helping to unleash the rich mix of aromas.


Co-founder James McIntosh said: “Having spent a lot of time in Scotland and its islands, we saw time and again how locals would drink wild water straight from the ground, then back in Edinburgh and London we’re watching people adding tap water to an expensive scotch.

“If you think about how many times tap water has been recycled before it reaches a bar or restaurant and how much chlorine and fluoride is added, particularly in London, there’s no way it should be going anywhere near a good whisky.

“Consumers have now bought into the idea of making sure the tonic in their G&T is the best they can have, and this is exactly the same concept.  Whisky drinkers might pay £20, £30, or even more for a single glass of scotch in a bar, and then they’re adding chlorine-heavy tap water to a wonderful drink.  It doesn’t make sense.

“In Scotland we have a law specifying how whisky should be made, yet we’re willing to dilute this centuries-old craftmanship by allowing bog-standard tap water to be added to our great drink.

“Many whisky drinkers also incorrectly assume that using bottled water is better, but its high mineral content interferes with the aroma and taste.

“We wanted Larkfire to be as close to the perfect water for whisky we could find in the UK and we think we’ve got that.  We travelled the breadth of Scotland looking for the very finest water to mix with whisky, consulting master blenders, professors, chemists and geologists en route.

“We learnt that the Isle of Lewis is made up of some of the oldest rock in the world, Lewisian gneiss, and that this rock is metamorphic and non-soluble meaning the water there is pure, soft and really low in mineral content.  The Outer Hebrides is home to 15% of the UK’s freshwater surface area – something we saw first-hand during our many visits – so water supply is regular and plentiful.

“Mixing this water with whisky creates a natural chemistry – the water complements the whisky unlocking its hidden complexities and creating a drink that is more enjoyable and has greater depth.”

James added: “We’re excited to expand the market with an innovative, quality product that will make whisky more accessible and appealing to a wider audience, whilst having wide-reaching benefits for our producers and stockists.”

Larkfire is sourced on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. The climate of the Isle of Lewis is characterised by short, cool and windy summers and extremely wet and windy winters – this wild climate and Scottish wilderness come together to produce the purest wild water.

The water is held on the surface by 3-billion-year-old Lewisian gneiss rock, among the oldest rock in the world. This non-soluble metamorphic rock is part of the reason for the water’s purity and lack of mineral content – it is naturally very soft and retains a slightly golden hue.

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