Whisky stones are little cubes of soapstone that you can “freeze” and then put in your whisky to chill it a little bit. Whisky stones are perfectly safe, unless you’re clumsy and drop the rocks in too hard.
They’re growing in popularity as a fun little accessory to get your whisky drinking friend because they’re cheap. Teroforma sells a set of 9 stones for under twenty bucks.
But are they worth it? Eh, I’m indifferent.
I’ve had a bag of whisky rocks in my freezer for at least five years and I’ve probably used it fewer than five times in my life. In fact, my wife uses more than I do to to chill Riesling!
The reality is that I enjoy my whisky in one of two ways – neat or in a cocktail. When I enjoy it neat, I like it at room temperature. We keep our house a little cooler in the winter and a little warmer in the summer but generally speaking it’s within a comfortable range.
There have been studies that show that temperature affects taste. In the science journal Nature, researchers revealed that “heat activation of TRPM4 underlies thermal sensitivity of sweet taste.”
In plain English, that simply means you are more sensitive to sweetness when something is warmer (the researched showed the same was true for umami and bitter). That’s why melted ice cream often tastes too sweet and why warm beer tastes more bitter.
Chilling whisky will impact your ability to perceive certain flavors on your tongue. I don’t want that.
For now, those stones will sit in my freezer until my lovely wife wants another glass of not-quite-cold-enough Riesling.
I’ve been getting some questions about different whisky stone brands – they’re all the same. It’s soapstone and there’s really no differentiation between one brand and another, the only difference is the packaging so pick whatever you think looks nice.
Do you use whisky stones? What’s your take on them?