The Science Behind Why You Should Drink Higher Proof Whiskey from WaPO

Read it all.  However the final paragraph sums it up well:

“If diluting whiskey really does mean that aromatic molecules evaporate from the surface, “by bottling at higher concentrations, you get less deterioration of taste,” Lacks said. Whiskey, by definition, has to be 40 percent alcohol, said Hughes. Diluting it would also increase packaging and distribution costs and take away the choice from the consumer.

At the end of the day, individuals should drink their whisky however they prefer it, said Hughes, but “if someone says they don’t like whiskey,” he added, “they just haven’t tried the right one yet.”

On the bourbon side of the equation, it is my understanding that wood tannin is water soluble. When you dilute bourbon, whether before bottling or in your glass, the wonderful wood flavors, I think, are the first to go.

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