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Oh water, the most humble and most important beverage. We need it to survive. We should imbibe six-to-eight glasses daily to achieve optimal health. It’s worshipped in many cultures. It has long been considered one the crucial four elements that replenish and give life; it quenches even the most torrid of thirsts. But do we give it the credit it’s due? Do we fuck. Sure, we concede that there’s nothing better when we’re in the mood, and we might debate whether Christchurch’s water is better or worse than its fluoridated counterparts, but for most of us, water is that bland, uniform drink that comes out of the tap and that we drink because we should, in spite of its flavourlessness and odourlessness.
Thank God, then, for the Water Connoisseur. The Water Connoisseur purports to be “an Oxford graduate with a double concentration in hydrology and fluid dynamics” who set up a blog where he reviews “various bottled and freshwater sources”. His credentials, you ask? “I have a trained palate capable of recognizing the subtle nuances that each source of water encompasses”. Unfortunately the blog is now defunct, with the latest post having been published on 7 March 2012, but we are blessed to have the little nuggets of wisdom he deigned to bestow on us.
One of the drawbacks of having such a refined palate is that apparently it diminishes enjoyment; his reviews are almost all negative, warranting their subject anywhere between 0.5 and 2 “Crystal Goblets” (the ideal chalice to drink water out of obviously, you pleb) out of 5. Poor Simplify was one of the brands not to pass muster: “Upon lifting the cap, I caught a subtle waft of kitty litter and nail polish remover… Alternate recommended uses include humidifying your guest house, testing gutter systems”. Ouch. He is by no means a pure-water purist either, heaping scorn on the natural “Appalachian Trail Natural Spring Water” (revered by many as “the best tasting water they’ve ever had”) for its traces of “bedrock” and “sweat”. Is no aqua too sacred?
The website is most likely absurdly comedic in nature, or at least a jibing parody of connoisseurs in other fields. But call me naïve or immature all you want: I WANT TO BELIEVE. I want to think there really is a water connoisseur out there shitting in the stream by denouncing a host of brands; more to the point, I want to believe that there is someone out there who is fascinated by – and skilled at – something as pedestrian as water. I want to believe that they are passionate enough about their hobby to painstakingly catalogue their interaction with it on the internet. As the cliché goes, it takes all sorts – and that is a wonderful, wonderful thing that lends credence to the idea of individuality.
NB A quick Google search confirms that there are, in fact, verified water connoisseurs out there. One even wrote a tome about it. Whether he was a fakery or a friend, the spirit of the Water Connoisseur flows on.