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What is this? Smoked water costs more than Scottish whiskey.


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If you thought that the food and drink industry has reached the border of creativeness when it comes t flavours and textures, then think twice. An unlikely combination has proven to be more expensive than good Scottish whiskey.

Take the simplicity of water and smoke it to oak perfection- and here you have it, the recipe for an entirely new drink, although there is a little catch, that you’ll read about below.

But first- the history. It all happened when British chef Heston Blumenthal challenged David Lea-Wilson and his wife Alison – owners of Halen Môn, a company producing sea salt in come up with an easier way to infuse risotto with an intense smoky flavour. The reason was simple - the Fat Duck, Blumenthal’s Michelin-starred restaurant in Bray, England.

Lea-Wilson told Bloomberg:  “For anyone else, you would say, ‘No, you don’t normally smoke water, but if Heston Blumenthal asks, then you “rise to the challenge.””

And he certainly did. But the whole oak-smoking process does not come cheap and a 100ml bottle of the Oak Smoked Water comes to the cost of £4.10. For comparison, a bottle of Glenlivet Founder's Reserve Single Malt Scotch Whisky is available for £22, or £3.14 per 100 ml.

The water is not only used in most of the Fat Duck dishes that have smoked elements to them but some manufacturers have also used it in some of their own products.

For example, Marks & Spencer’s bread range includes oak-smoked water sourdough. The discount supermarket, Iceland, has previously created a smoked turkey brine.

But here is the little catch- the oak smoked water is reserved solely for cooking as it seems.  Halen Môn’s website says the water is ideal for marinades and barbecue sauces. However if you belong to the few adventurers out there, you might think of other ways to use the water- such as freezing it in ice cubes for a classy Old Fashioned, or even adding a few drops to your sizzling bacon. 

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