PDA

View Full Version : Are mini bottles a reliable sample?



Blitz
02-27-2009, 17:53
I assume it's the same contents of the regular bottles, but is there anything inherent about them that they would not be a reliable sample of the whiskey? If I like or dislike something from a mini, should I trust it?

Dr. François
02-27-2009, 18:16
Excellent question. I've wondered about this myself.

Unfortunately, most of the bourbons I really "know" don't come in 50ml bottles.

kickert
02-27-2009, 19:40
when I saw this post I began to wonder myself. I have only had "exclusive samples" from a few minis. The most notable would be blanton's and I had a bad experience with the mini, and then a mediocre experience with the 750. I am pretty sure this particular mini had some cork taint.

Blitz
02-27-2009, 20:59
when I saw this post I began to wonder myself. I have only had "exclusive samples" from a few minis. The most notable would be blanton's and I had a bad experience with the mini, and then a mediocre experience with the 750. I am pretty sure this particular mini had some cork taint.

That's interesting that the mini had cork. I haven't seen that yet. The cap seems to be the hardest thing for the producers to replicate. I see a lot of bottles that look just like the 750ml except for the top.

Edward_call_me_Ed
02-28-2009, 06:30
Unless the mini had a cork stopper it can't be corked.

Some bottles of Blantons can taste earthy or musty. Which word you use depends on whether you like it or not. I love it. I have had corked whiskey and that was very different, and very bad.

Ed

Edward_call_me_Ed
02-28-2009, 06:38
I think a mini is a fairly reliable guide. I don't have a whole lot of experience with trying a mini first then buying a regular bottle. Minis in Sapporo are just too expensive. I would rather buy a full size bottle and take my chances. But the minis I have had in the States and on airlines seemed representative of the spirit. I mean, Jim Beam Black, mini, tastes like Jim Beam Black, bottle etc. I must admit that I wasn't really trying to evaluate the minis that I have had, but I have never drunk one and thought it tasted odd.

Ed

Josh
02-28-2009, 12:44
Unless the mini had a cork stopper it can't be corked.

Some bottles of Blantons can taste earthy or musty. Which word you use depends on whether you like it or not. I love it. I have had corked whiskey and that was very different, and very bad.

Ed

I just checked the bottle, and the Blanton's mini I bought at a Lexington Liquor Barn last summer DOES have a cork stopper. It's sitting in our china cabinet b/c the wife thinks it looks pretty. Which it does. :grin:

It did not taste musty or corked to me, but it did taste kinda, well, boring. I've never had corked whiskey, but I have corked wine and it's a nasty experience. Most decent wine shops will let you bring it back for that reason and exchange it.

At any rate, the possibilty of a whiskey (or wine for that matter) becoming corked makes me wonder why do it in the first place? It just seems like a gimmick to make it seem fancier and therefore better, hoping the consumer will think, in the words of the EB folks, it is "good enough for a cork"

kickert
02-28-2009, 15:52
I just checked the bottle, and the Blanton's mini I bought at a Lexington Liquor Barn last summer DOES have a cork stopper.

Yeah... what he said.

This cork had a good sized crack in it and some blue grey funk on the bottom.

Hondo
03-01-2009, 06:48
The whiskey is the same so I think it would be a fair representation of a larger bottle.

The problem that I see is that you only have one shot to develop your opinion. On occasion I have tried a new bourbon then had my initial reaction develop over time as I tried it again days or weeks later.

So while the whiskey is the same... apparently I am not.

Stu
03-01-2009, 17:49
Through the generosity of a board member, I had the opportunity to try several Stizell Weller minis (Thanks again Thomas). Every one I tried was as good as their big brothers that I tried at the gazebo.

I agree with Hondo, however, it may not be enough to form a conclusive opinion. In my case, I already knew that I loved the contents.

MikeK
03-02-2009, 05:51
What everyone else said.

In the opposite direction, I always thought that Lagavulin mini's actually tasted BETTER than the 750ml. Not that there is anything wrong with the 750. I voiced this opinion to a rep. once and he said that they use a different profile for the minis. Might have been talking out his butt, but I say they are much stonger flavored.

spun_cookie
03-02-2009, 06:29
What everyone else said.

In the opposite direction, I always thought that Lagavulin mini's actually tasted BETTER than the 750ml. Not that there is anything wrong with the 750. I voiced this opinion to a rep. once and he said that they use a different profile for the minis.

Might have been talking out his butt, but I say they are much stronger flavored.

I have noticed this with the MM, Beam 8 and the Woodsford. Much richer on all three.

StraightBoston
03-02-2009, 07:13
I'm in big trouble if they're not representative -- I have over 100 in my collection! Most are eBay specials of long-disappeared distilleries/brands.

I have occasionally acquired a nip and compared to its "big brother" 750. The variation in profile is there, but probably less than the range of one single barrel to another.

What I have found is that the older ones are susceptible to all of the dangers of extra-dusty bottles -- mustiness, evaporation, oxidation. I've had many more spoiled minis than spoiled decanters.

cowdery
03-04-2009, 19:18
I would chime in with those saying that the only problem with minis is that they are only 50 ml. I would hate to review something on less that 375 ml, but maybe that's why I don't write so many reviews.

Bourbon Geek
03-07-2009, 09:07
I think the answer is an unqualified maybe ... Many distilleries do not bottle mini's continuously, but in a few large batches per year. This would lead to potential batch-to-batch inequalities being expressed. If the distillery is particularly good in the batch-to-batch thing, the mini should be more closely representative.

Also, the kind of cap can make a difference ... cork has already been discussed with it's potential problems ... there is also a potential difference between the metal ROPP caps and plastic ones. The machinery for installing the metal caps is more subject to "difficulties", especially in getting a perfect seal; and a poorly sealed bottle will eventually lead to a product that is not representative of it's big brothers. The addition of wax over a metal cap certainly can cover a multitude of sins with a poorly sealed metal cap ...

So ... I would vote for a plastic screw cap to provide the most replicable experience ... followed by a wax sealed metal one ... then it's a toss up between cork and metal ...

smokinjoe
03-07-2009, 09:41
Well, I'll be...Dave's rating of cap selection got me to thinking, so I just checked my collection of mini whiskies that my wife has been giving me every Christmas since 1982. All of the plastic capped minis have suffered ZERO evaporation. And, some of these go back to some of the earliest ones I have. Most of the metal capped ones have sufferered some degree of evaporation...some rather extreme. The Maker's and Knob, both waxed over, have zero evaporation, as well. I'd never really noticed this pattern.
So, if the integrity of the seal between cap and bottle means anything, then minis would seem to be more representative of the originally bottled product if they have plastic caps. So, my unscientific 'speriment, would seem to give credence to Dave's assertion. I'm sure he's delighted to hear this...:rolleyes: :D

Metal caps look purdier, though. :D

StraightBoston
03-08-2009, 06:52
I can't say for certain regarding wax-topped metal caps -- the only major label not represented amongst my 100+ minis is Maker's (because the collectors bid up the sealed bottled itself past my budget for tasting what's inside!)

The explanation as to why the mini profile might vary from the 750s makes sense and is consistent with my tasting experiences.