A Glass of tap water has beaten bottled mineral waters costing thousands of times as much in a blind taste test by some of the most experienced palates in Britain.
Experts including a leading sommelier and a wine critic put a glass of Thames Water's standard tap water at third equal in a tasting of 24 different waters.
The water, from a tap in South Kensington, London, costs less than 1p a litre but was rated higher than mineral waters costing £50.
The Waiwera brand, from New Zealand, selling for £9 a litre at Claridges, came top in the tasting for Decanter magazine, with Vittel at second (39p from Tesco).
Thames Water's offering was third alongside Iskilde, which costs 900 times more at £9 a litre. Anthony Rose, wine critic for the Independent, nominated the tap water as the one he believed to be the most expensive. Terry Threlfall, sommelier at the Michelin-starred Chez Bruce restaurant, said it was his favourite.
The most expensive water tested – 420 Volcanic, £50 a litre from Claridges – was low down the list in 18th place. Bling H20 from California, the second most expensive at £40 and sold in a bottle encrusted with Swarovski jewels, was ranked lower at 22.
Guy Woodward, the magazine's editor, said: "It's bad enough that restaurants get away with charging scandalous mark-ups on wine, but charging £5, £10 and £20 for a resource that is freely available is an outrage. Most tasters preferred tap water."