Adam’s Ale: Decrypting the Depths

Ganesh Iyer | January 10, 2024 | Life

The Managing Partner of VEEN Water & India’s first certified water sommelier, Mr. Ganesh Iyer, pens down a piece for Svasa Life discussing and dissecting “water”.

Water, the elixir of life, is not merely a basic necessity but a profound element that traverses multiple dimensions. As we delve into the essence of water, we unravel its significance through various perspectives, each contributing to the intricate tapestry of its existence. During our school days, we were taught that water is tasteless, odourless, and colourless, but over the years, I have come to realise that water has its unique taste, colour, and smell.

Elemental Harmony
At its core, water is the vital force that sustains life on our planet. It is the backbone of Earth’s ecosystems, supporting the very essence of existence.

Scientific Symphony
From a scientific standpoint, water is a chemical marvel, comprising two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. This fundamental composition is the bedrock of its life-sustaining properties.

Ayurvedic Elegance
In the world of Ayurveda, water embodies the nourishing, cooling quality associated with lunar energy. It serves as a nurturing elixir, lubricating and detoxifying the body, adding a holistic dimension to its significance.

With these perspectives in mind, let’s explore the diverse functionalities that water bestows upon us. It acts as our first line of defence against chronic ailments, flushing out toxins, oxygenating the blood, and contributing significantly to lymph production. Moreover, water aids in digestion and prevents dehydration, solidifying its role as an indispensable elixir of life.

(L-R) Drift from Water Works Series; Adrift from Water Works Series
Painted by Sarah Slavik

The Global Pursuit of Water Excellence
In the ever-evolving global geopolitical landscape, the efficient management of water resources has become a paramount goal. The 6th Objective of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) emphasises the guarantee of potable water availability and its sustainable management for everyone by 2030.

Discerning Water Quality
Ensuring basic access to potable water hinges on its quality. Water quality is evaluated through factors such as dissolved oxygen concentration, bacteria levels, salinity, turbidity, and adherence to permissible limits for various contaminants.

The Uniqueness of Water
Contrary to the conventional belief that water is tasteless, colourless, and odourless, each source possesses distinct attributes. These attributes include virginality, TDS (Total Dissolved Solids), vintage, hardness, and orientation (pH level). These elements contribute to each water’s unique taste, colour, and aroma, making it a sensory experience beyond the mundane.

Each of the above attributes plays a vital role in the way a particular natural mineral water or sparkling water would taste. The heaviness in the mineral water is directly proportionate to the level of magnesium and potassium present. Likewise, a high amount of silica in the water gives a velvety mouthfeel and a high amount of calcium makes the water taste chalky. This makes the job of a water sommelier interesting and very different from that of a wine sommelier. When you are with a wine sommelier, you might find it easy to understand taste profiles like cherry, gooseberry, or vanilla. However, it might be difficult to comprehend the taste of minerals like magnesium or potassium unless you are a qualified chemist.

After spending almost two decades in the beverage industry and being a part of teams that launched seven water brands in India, I realised the crucial role played by water experts. With the emergence of fine waters and the growth of this category, it has become essential to have professionals trained in detecting, tasting, and differentiating different types of waters. These experts can suggest pairing ideas with food and spirits based on the water’s taste.

Ganesh Iyer- India’s first Water Sommelier

Water sommeliers are gaining popularity among culinary tables worldwide. There are now close to 3-4 dozen fine dines where bespoke water-paired menus are offered. For example, waters with mild carbonation are best suited for sushi, while heavy mineral water blends perfectly with biryani. Similarly, low TDS water with medium silica content can make chamomile taste better. Today, chamomile made with RO water is like murder in broad daylight.

Water is more than just a simple compound. It is a complex elixir that is intricately woven into the fabric of life. As we taste its purity, appreciate its clarity and enjoy its aroma, we come to realise that water is not just a drink – it is an art form, a symphony of elemental beauty that elevates our senses to new heights.

Words by Ganesh Iyer, Managing Partner – VEEN.
Featured image ‘The Waterseller of Seville’ by Diego Velázquez.

One thought on “Adam’s Ale: Decrypting the Depths

  1. Mr. Ganesh Iyer you have beautifully unraveled the multifaceted essence of water, from its elemental harmony as the vital force sustaining life to its scientific marvel and Ayurvedic elegance, celebrating water as the indispensable elixir of life. Thank you for sharing this knowledge with us.

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