Really Expensive Smoked Water Is a Thing Now

A Welsh sea salt company is capturing international attention for its new fancy smoked water.

The Anglesey Sea Salt Company, a family firm in Wales that makes and markets fancy sea salts (“the best sea salt money can buy,” it claims) under the brand name Halen Mon (which means “Anglesey Salt” in Welsh), is now capturing international attention for its new fancy smoked water.

The “100% natural” smoked water was developed using the same smoking technique Halen Mon used to give its sea salt a smoky, “savory” flavor. But … water?

As it happens, the product was developed in response to a request by British celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal, who sought a reliable way to bring a consistent level of smokiness to a dish served at his Triple-Michelin-starred restaurant The Fat Duck, where set dinner and wine selection will cost you upwards of $525 a head. (Last year, the Independent dubbed it “the most expensive” restaurant in Britain.)

If anyone else had requested smoked water, Anglesey Sea Salt co-owner David Lea-Wilson recently told Bloomberg, he would have declined to work toward developing it, but in this case, he figured, hey, “Let’s rise to the challenge.”

It took them “hundreds of trials,” but now the company has perfected what it now describes as “100% clean label,” “vegan, gluten-free, salt free, sugar-free,” “artisan” Oak Smoked Water, which it says is “versatile” enough to use in all sorts of foods and drinks, making smoking the foods themselves unnecessary and also avoiding the chemical ingredients of artificial smoke flavors. (The company smokes sugar, too.)

Introduced in 2013, the tea-colored smoked water has been used in an array of high-end products and by chefs in the U.K., and the company is now planning for U.S. distribution, Bloomberg reports.

The hitch? The price. Bloomberg food critic Richard Vines notes that, at a retail price of £4.10 (about $5.39) for a 100 ml (3.4 ounce) bottle, Halen Mon smoked water is more expensive than some kinds of fancy whisky. A 150 ml bottle for sale on Amazon will set you back $14.39, albeit with free shipping.

Photo courtesy of @halenmon

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