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Taste Test Thursdays

Taste Test Thursday: Bottled Water

Some tasters could tell the difference, others forfeited after the first sip, and a few people got creative with their answers. Here's what they thought.
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I recently read a story about Michael Mascha, a wine aficionado living in Harlingen, Texas who traded in the grapes for water. In the piece, Mascha who is a self-proclaimed water connoisseur, claims that different waters vary is taste, and that some are better than others. On the one hand it makes sense that each water would have its own unique flavor profile, what with all the different minerals that are added, purification processes, and even types of bottles that are used. But are these flavors distinct enough for the average palate to detect? And if so, is bottled water worth spending money on (especially when we have clean drinking water readily available from the tap)?

For this week’s blind taste test I picked up six unique bottled waters (and threw Dallas tap water into the mix for good measure). Some tasters could tell the difference, others forfeited after the first sip, and a few got creative with their answers. Here’s what they thought.

The water:

A. Ozarka
B. Volvic
C. Crazy Water No. 3
E. Smart Water
F. Fiji
G. Dallas tap water

Tasting notes:


  • Crystal clear.
  • Has a bit of a sharp aftertaste.
  • No hints of well rust here. Let’s move on.
  • Juicy with a berry finish. Slight tobacco taste.
  • Cloud
  • Can’t tell the difference.


  • Mildly sweet?
  • This one feels smoother/softer than A. It’s easy to drink.
  • It’s been said that January is the worst month. You know why? Our last taste test in December was champagne. Now we’re drinking water out of paper cups. This is why January is the worst month. The less flavor the better, when it comes to water. This has more flavor than the first. Not good.
  • Too much salinity. West Coast hops?
  • 1f60f
  • Can’t tell the difference.

Crazy Water No. 3

  • Toilet water with added salt and minerals.
  • Ew. The taste of this one is what I imagine toilet water to be.
  • This is atrocious. Ever time in small towns like Bellmead or Westminster, TX? It tastes exactly like this; like the aforementioned well water. This bucket’s got a hole in it, Dear Liza.
  • Hints of toilet, smells like the Trinity. Reminds me of a YMCA locker room, but not the downtown one.
  • 2716
  • Salty? Tastes like a swimming pool.


  • I don’t know.
  • I tried to use this to wash out the aftertaste of C, but it didn’t work. Or maybe it’s just that this one isn’t good either.
  • Retains the taste of the paper container, so you may want to get this in a glass, ASAP.
  • Mango, grapefruit maybe? Fiddlehead fern, too.
  • 1f4af
  • Can’t tell the difference.

Smart Water

  • Plastic. This one has been sitting in a bottle for about 12 years.
  • Is it possible for water to taste sweet? This one does.
  • Better than the others so far. Remarkably taste-free; not tasteless. That’s not bad. Should I go into water marketing?
  • I would like to know what this is because it’s pretty good.
  • 1f451
  • Can’t tell the difference.


  • Mild chemical aftertaste. Probably just stuff that seeped in from the plastic bottle.
  • Good, solid water taste.
  • Why so much water? This goes up to “G.” Ack. This is getting painful. I don’t think I realized how much I dislike water. It only tastes good when you’re hiking, hungover, or chained to an unambitious lover.
  • Can’t focus, thinking about how good E was.
  • 1f31e
  • Slightly sweet.

Dallas tap water

  • Toilet water.
  • Nope. Has an odd taste to it.
  • Is this the isle of Fiji? Seems like it. Fiji has a high arsenic content, even though it’s the best-tasting water. Breaking news: Arsenic is delicious.
  • See F.
  • 1f4a9
  • Tastes like the rain.



Tally up:

Ozarka 0
Volvic 2
Crazy Water No. 3 0
Smart Water 2
Fiji 1
Dallas tap water 1


The winner is:

This week’s taste test is a tie between Volvic and Smart Water. Volic natural spring water is bottled in France, and its source is the Volvic springs in the Auvergne Regional Park. According to the label on the bottle, the water passes through six layers of volcanic rocks, which is how it acquires its mineral content. Smart Water, which is owned and operated by the Coca-Cola brand, is vapor-distilled. Meaning, water is steamed, and the vapors are collected. It also has added electrolytes.

So, what do you think of bottled water? Is it a sham, or something to take seriously? Do you have a favorite brand of bottled water? Let us know in the comments below.

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