Water taste test boils down to draw between Aspen Pure, Fiji | AspenTimes.com

Water taste test boils down to draw between Aspen Pure, Fiji

Finally, solid proof that a little more cooperation might cut down on all the things we fight about in Aspen.

In an attempt to resolve the debate over whether Fiji or Aspen Pure brand water tastes better, local television-show host Andrew Kole held a blind taste test Wednesday.

Two out of the four tasters picked Kole’s “mystery water” ” a half-and-half mix of Aspen Pure and Fiji.

“There’s a business out there that’s about to be started ” ‘Fiji Pure,'” quipped Rob Ittner, a wine sommelier and co-owner of Range and Rustique Bistro.

A squabble over which local water company will supply patrons and performers at the Wheeler Opera House flared up recently. The Wheeler chose to stick with Fiji, even though it was the most expensive of all of the brands to put in a bid for the water contract.

Jerry Bovino, Aspen Pure board chairman, quickly let it be known that he was miffed at the decision. He said the Wheeler should be selling water with the Aspen name on it and that it’s more environmentally friendly to import Aspen pure from southern Colorado than Fiji, bottled in the South Pacific.

To address the controversy, Kole taped a segment called “Water Wars: the final sip” yesterday. But according to the tasters, if the water companies would simply put their heads together, the result could be tasty.

For advice on testing water, Kole turned to Arthur von Wiesenberger, a consultant to the bottled water industry who has authored four books on bottled water. According to his Web site, http://www.bottledwaterweb.com, von Wiesenberger has been a consultant for Fiji Water among many others, including Evian Spring Water.

He gave tips to Kole on the correct way to test water, from tasting the liquid at room temperature to tasting it in glasses rather than plastic cups. Kole broke both rules during the taste test.

“I was a judge once for Miss USA, but this is more pressure,” said Dennis Basso, who participated in the blind taste test.

Basso and his employee, Dakota Wolf, and Aspen Art Museum director Dean Sobel were on the show to promote Dennis Basso Freestyle, a fund-raiser for the art museum on Dec. 28.

“This one is really opening up, actually,” Sobel joked while trying one of the three unmarked waters.

Sommelier Ittner chose Aspen Pure, and Wolf chose Fiji. Both Basso and Sobel chose the mixture of the “mystery water.”

“It’s a weird ending to this,” Kole said, while Sobel offered up the mixture as a “safe middle ground.”

Kole’s show, including the water segment, will air on GrassRoots TV channel 12 in Aspen tonight at 10, Friday at 8 a.m. and Saturday at midnight.

[Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is nhavlen@aspentimes.com]

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