Though we鈥檙e all about our reusable water bottles (despite their germ-ridden nastiness), we know how much you love fancy shmancy water. Seriously, we freaked out as much as anyone when we discovered we could design our own LaCroix cans. But what about bottled water? Are they all equal? Nope, says Belinda Chang, a sommelier who used her talented tongue to rank bottled water. Here are her results.


She hails from Chicago and is the head of the wine and spirits program at upscale steakhouse Maple & Ash, so Belinda knows her drinks. While she usually puts her skills towards perfect pairings of wine and sumptuous meals, Belinda welcomed Thrillist into her domain to put water to the ultimate test.

Belinda compared 10 different brands by evaluating the flavor, aroma, texture and finish of each, giving them a score out of a possible 100. 鈥淎 good bottled water shouldn鈥檛 have any off-putting aromas or flavors, that would be an automatic negative,鈥 Belinda explained. 鈥淚n wine, we always talk about terroir, and I think for water it鈥檚 the same. You want it to speak of the place where it comes from. And, of course, you want it to be delicious.鈥

Let鈥檚 check out how they ranked, from worst to best鈥

propel water

10. Propel 鈥 Score: 69/100

When it came to Propel, Belinda was immediately put off by the odor, saying it 鈥渟mells salty, metallic.鈥 Ew. When it came to taste, it might not have been as bad, but it certainly wasn鈥檛 an A+. 鈥淲hen it gets onto your tongue, the impact is bizarre. The texture and flavor is a lot like Gatorade, but not masked with orange or blue raspberry.鈥

9. Dasani 鈥 Score: 70/100

Dasani was another that was somewhat stinky. 鈥淪ee, this one does not smell good 鈥 it smells like a wine that鈥檚 been dosed with sulphates.鈥 What鈥檚 with all the smelly water? Belinda deemed that when it comes to Dasani, 鈥淭he thirst-quenching quotient is really low on this guy.鈥

8. Ice Mountain 鈥 Score: 81/100

Ice Mountain got it right if you鈥檙e looking for nothing but water. Tasteless water. 鈥淚t鈥檚 completely neutral in almost every way, which I think is a total positive.鈥 In this case, definitely. Though Belinda did note a slight 鈥渕inerally鈥 aftertaste, a 鈥減ipe-like flavor.鈥

7. Aquafina 鈥 Score: 84/100

Instead of pipe-like, Belinda felt Aquafina tasted 鈥渁 little powdery, with some dissolved minerals and a little bit of salt.鈥 Still, she felt that this was a decent thirst-quencher. 鈥淔or an inexpensive water that you鈥檙e just drinking because you鈥檙e in the airport and you want to hydrate before you go on a flight, I think this is a good option.鈥

6. Naleczowianka 鈥 Score: 89/100

Naleczowianka was another with a 鈥渄istinctive鈥 smell 鈥 this time, a stony hint. Kinda strangely, it made Belinda think of 鈥渁 salt character 鈥 I want it with a pierogi.鈥 That鈥檚鈥 specific. But overall, this one failed where it seems to matter the most, with the sommelier noting, 鈥淚t鈥檚 not that thirst-quenching. It dries out the palate.鈥


5. Evian 鈥 Score: 90/100

Evian is better when it comes to the smelliness, with Belinda claiming that it鈥檚 鈥渞eally clean on the nose.鈥 But interestingly, she also noted, 鈥淚 do taste the Alps 鈥 I don鈥檛 smell them, but I taste them. And I can definitely imagine myself apres-ski with a bottle of Evian.鈥 That鈥檚 a plus for Evian.

4. Smeraldina 鈥 Score: 92/100

Smeraldina scored slightly higher than Evian despite the fact that 鈥渁fter you have a sip of it, it feels like there鈥檚 this fine silt lying on your tongue.鈥 No, thanks. Besides that, however, 鈥渢his would transport you back to the south of Italy.鈥 Whoa. First the Alps, now Italy. We鈥檙e globetrotting with every sip.

3. Smartwater 鈥 Score: 93/100

Smartwater is actually something that Belinda is familiar with herself, but admitted, 鈥淚鈥檝e always chugged this the next morning when I鈥檓 hungover.鈥 Natch. However, when she took some time to consider it, she claims, 鈥淚t鈥檚 probably 1,000% the marketing, but it does taste different,鈥 i.e. really interesting texture in the mid-palate which Belinda assumes is the electrolytes.

2. Fiji 鈥 Score: 98/100

Fiji took the runner-up spot partly due to the fact that it鈥檚 鈥渢otally neutral on the nose, which I think is important.鈥 But it was also the fact that it鈥檚 a heavy water that got Belinda鈥檚 stamp of approval. 鈥淸If] you want to drink a glass of water after a spectacular dish or, like, a great bite of a burger, you want something that cleanses, and this is it. I really love this water.鈥

1. Roundy鈥檚 Purified Drinking Water 鈥 Score: 99/100

And the winner is鈥 Roundy鈥檚! First, the smell won Belinda over. 鈥淭his is going to sound so weird, but it鈥檚 a little sweet-smelling 鈥 which I like!鈥 But, of course, that wasn鈥檛 all. Taste is the major factor here and the sommelier thought this option was delicious. 鈥淚t has no pretension, it鈥檚 incredibly thirst-quenching. It doesn鈥檛 taste like anything, which is perfect. When you鈥檙e drinking water you just want to be drinking water, and this is the most watery of all the waters. This is the Moet Imperial of bottled water 鈥 it鈥檚 simple, it鈥檚 classic and it does exactly what it鈥檚 supposed to do. It delivers and that鈥檚 my professional opinion.鈥

Do you notice differences in the taste of water from different brands and your tap? Tweet us @BritandCo!

(h/t Thrillist; photos via Bogdan Kosanovic/iStock, Propel, Evian)