Natural mineral waters and spring waters are an important part of Europe’s cultural heritage and have been enjoyed and recognised for their purity for hundreds of years.

However, the bottling and commercialisation of natural mineral waters first began in Europe in the mid-16th century, with mineral water from Spa in Belgium, from Vichy in France, from Ferrarelle in Italy and Apollinaris in Germany. And the first commercially distributed water in America was only bottled and sold by Jackson’s Spa in Boston in 1767. Want to learn more? Click here.

Today, despite the fact that bottled water is one of the safest, healthiest and most environmentally-friendly packaged beverages in the retailer’s fridge, its detractors persist in repeating disproved data and blatantly incorrect facts. This gives rise to urban legends or myths, and detract from the value the industry adds to consumers’ lives everywhere. Learn to tell fact from fiction.

At first, you may not be able to discern any taste differences between the different bottled waters you buy. However, as you compare waters from different sources, you will discover their different characters and complexities, and that certain waters go better with certain foods.

See here for descriptions of how just a handful of the waters can differ.

Also helpful is the South African National Bottled Water Association’s (SANBWA) taste wheel, and guide to our members’ waters.

Click on the image to enlarge it.

Looking for a water to use as a mixer with whiskey or brandy, or perhaps one to revitalise and refresh your palate? You can make an informed choice thanks to South African National Bottled Water Association (SANBWA), and its guide to the ‘taste’ of its members’ products.

Created in collaboration with the Sommeliers Association of South Africa (SASA) and the South African Chefs Association (SACA), our guide clearly highlights that ‘not all waters are created equal’, although only from an organoleptic point-of-view as all SANBWA members adhere to the same strict quality standards laid out in the SANBWA Bottled Water Standard.

Click on the waterwheel to enlarge it.