View Full Version : Opened bottles/deterioration

11-27-2002, 16:17
I've previously read elsewhere that opened bottles of bourbon will deteriorate over time due to exposure to air. The information indicated that the longer the bottle had been opened, the greater the chance that "off flavors" would occur with the remaining bourbon. I have never personally experienced any problems with any deterioration of opened bottles. Has anyone ever had this problem? If so, how long had the bottle been opened? How much bourbon was left in the bottle?

I tend to like trying my new purchases, http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/smile.gif and then casually go about enjoying them over time. I ask these questions, because I'd hate for my opened bottles good bourbon to become not-so-good. http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/frown.gif

Have a great Wild Turkey Day! Happy Thanksgiving!


11-27-2002, 16:30
As long as you have a decent seal on the bottle Bob, It takes a long time. I think Linn complained once about the quality of a cork stopper in a Bourbon bottle. If you are worried about it you could get smaller bottles and move it down as you drink it up, keeping the volume of air in the bottle small. I don't have anything that's been open long but as far as I know If the seal is good we are talking about years before you notice a decline. On the aside some , myself included have noticed an improvement in some Bourbon's after it is drank down some and opened up to breathe.

11-28-2002, 08:38
The biggest enemy to any drink is oxygen. The oxygen in the air will oxidize(react) with the exposed bourbon. the solution is to get the air out. So the trick is to use smaller bottles. With less air in the bottle, less "oxy" to react with. Also, every time the bottle is opened, new oxygen is introduced into the bottle. I know, it's sad.
have a great thanksgiving

11-28-2002, 18:33
Personally I have found opening bottles only improves the whiskey. They must be kept well-stoppered, but otherwise I have bottles many years old that drink very well.

For example, a couple of years back I vatted (to use a Scottish whisky term) George Dickel with the ten year old of the same brand. At first, the result was spirity, closed.

Now, with less than half the bottle left, the vatting has matured to a brandy-like richness and complexity.

11-29-2002, 13:42
Mark, Cypress & Bobby,
Thanks for your feedback. It's good to know that you haven't had any problems with deterioration! It's possible that I may have even had some bottles improve after opening as Bobby and Cypress observed. With quite a few bottles open, its reassuring to hear your impressions. I've got a few new bottles that I'd been hesitant to open, but now I guess I don't have anything to worry about!

11-29-2002, 17:48
I have heard that whisky starts to change appreciably after 6-18 months. http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/frown.gif This change is most pronounced once half the bottle is gone (and replaced by air). The change is sometimes for the better especially as the whisky opens up in the first couple weeks or months. http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/smile.gif

I have almost all my bottles open at any given time. I don't worry about bottles on my "drink it" shelf because they will be gone within the year (or so). I use a wine preserver gas with the others to keep them from going stale. http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/tongue.gif This is especially important for my handful of special occasion whiskies that I hope will last for years (most being irreplaceable).

11-29-2002, 19:25
Well, such careful treatment will not hurt, but consider this: as casks age considerable air is let in the cask.

Old casks opened after ten or twenty years are sometimes half-full.

How can that air hurt the spirit less (in fact, au contraire) than air in a tightly sealed bottle kept the same amount of time?

If anything, one would think the partly full cask would hurt it more since they are more porous than a well-closed bottle.