PDA

View Full Version : Question From a New Bourbon Enthusiast



QiCultivator
03-11-2010, 09:43
If I buy some bottles to consume later, say over a year from now or even a
few years from now, is it a bad idea to break the seal to smell the
bourbon?

One of my favorite things about Bourbon is the smell but I am
thinking about trying to SLOWLY build a collection, so I don't want to
drink it right now.

Thank You

wadewood
03-11-2010, 09:53
no problem storing opened bottle away for a few years, especially with just a few ounces removed. If the bottle is mostly empty and then stored for a few years, it might have a slight taste change from original from oxidation, but it will not go bad.

QiCultivator
03-11-2010, 10:01
So oxidation won't be a huge problem unless I have a bottle that has a
lot of empty space in it that has been sitting around for a really long time?

I'm wondering how long this usually takes...5 years? 10 years? More? I guess
it depends on a number of variables.

cowdery
03-11-2010, 13:51
Harmful oxidation in the bottle takes a long time, although some people are very sensitive to even small changes, so for them it may happen faster.

To get some idea what we're talking about, pour a glass of whiskey, taste it, then let it sit uncovered for 6 or 7 hours and taste it again.

The good thing about breaking the seal, even if just to take a wiff, is that you then have that out of the way and won't hesitate if you want to drink some.

Heck, you have to drink something now.

OscarV
03-11-2010, 13:58
To get some idea what we're talking about, pour a glass of whiskey, taste it, then let it sit uncovered for 6 or 7 hours and taste it again.



This is very good advice.
I am very sensative to bottles that have been open for a short period of time.
I have friends who swear that it doesn't change the taste even after a year.
But this is a good test to see where your nose/palate is.

Josh
03-11-2010, 15:29
Harmful oxidation in the bottle takes a long time, although some people are very sensitive to even small changes, so for them it may happen faster.

To get some idea what we're talking about, pour a glass of whiskey, taste it, then let it sit uncovered for 6 or 7 hours and taste it again.

The good thing about breaking the seal, even if just to take a wiff, is that you then have that out of the way and won't hesitate if you want to drink some.

Heck, you have to drink something now.


This is very good advice.
I am very sensative to bottles that have been open for a short period of time.
I have friends who swear that it doesn't change the taste even after a year.
But this is a good test to see where your nose/palate is.

I'm one of the sensitives too. I have been given sips and even whole bottles of some choice dusties that others loved and raved about but all I got was a nauseatingly strong butterscotch smell.

On the other hand I often don't get some of the "leatherbound book" and tobacco smells and tastes many people get out of whiskeys.

So in the end, your mileage may vary.

Dramiel McHinson
03-11-2010, 18:57
The only problem I have had with long storage of open bottles is if they have a cork stopper. I have had the corks deteriorate so bad that they fell apart and left cork goo around the inside of the neck. A lot of times though, I have gone back to a mediocre bottle that has been open for a few years and the taste seems to have improved not degraded.

BBQ+Bourbon
03-11-2010, 19:19
The good thing about breaking the seal, even if just to take a wiff, is that you then have that out of the way and won't hesitate if you want to drink some.

Heck, you have to drink something now.
I agree with you, Chuck. When I find a bottle of something rare, it's nearly impossible to open it. Some bottles I open immediately after getting them home for that very reason.

edo
03-11-2010, 19:20
I try to buy two bottles of every new whiskey I try- one I open for rotation, and one I put in the retirement bunker. I can do this because I really can't say I've ever found a whiskey I couldn't drink. Even neat.

I even finally finished a bottle of Tangle Ridge Canadian whisky because I couldn't bear to pour it down the drain, and I couldn't stand looking at it on my shelf after my first taste- seemed to contaminate the 'wa' of the space. Luckily, I only bought one of those.

Never had any problem like that with anything labeled KSBW, especially after reading through the wealth of expert (and non-professional) recommendations/opinions I've found right here at SB.com. Thanks, everybody!

ErichPryde
03-12-2010, 03:42
This is very good advice.
I am very sensative to bottles that have been open for a short period of time.
I have friends who swear that it doesn't change the taste even after a year.
But this is a good test to see where your nose/palate is.

Me, too. I have a bottle of Sazerac 18 year that has been open for a year and a half, and there's about a 1/4 of a bottle left. Now it smells (and tastes) like hopsital needles and chloroform with an intensly sharp, stabbing, and sweet nose. it is horrible. That's oxidation for you....


I'm one of the sensitives too. I have been given sips and even whole bottles of some choice dusties that others loved and raved about but all I got was a nauseatingly strong butterscotch smell.


Are you talking about older ND products, or are you talking about AAA10? Just curious.

Josh
03-12-2010, 04:49
Me, too. I have a bottle of Sazerac 18 year that has been open for a year and a half, and there's about a 1/4 of a bottle left. Now it smells (and tastes) like hopsital needles and chloroform with an intensly sharp, stabbing, and sweet nose. it is horrible. That's oxidation for you....



Are you talking about older ND products, or are you talking about AAA10? Just curious.

I've gotten it out of old ND products, but I've also gotten it from old AAs, an EW, and the worst I ever got was a bottle of Old Charter 7 y/o.

gblick
03-12-2010, 06:12
If you're worried about oxidation, just move the juice into smaller bottles as needed.

loose proton
03-12-2010, 07:31
where it's stored is also, issue. certainly not in the window, attic, car, next to furnace.

Rughi
03-12-2010, 10:59
I've gotten it out of old ND products, but I've also gotten it from old AAs, an EW, and the worst I ever got was a bottle of Old Charter 7 y/o.

WORST?
I would think you meant to say BEST!!!

Love that butterscotch....I bunkered up on Taylor 86s and Charter 7s from the 70s and 80s specifically for that reason.

And Tangle Ridge - I've got a bottle that's been open for 5 years and hasn't gotten any less awful in that time. It must be good for something...perhaps in a cake or compote?

Roger

Josh
03-12-2010, 12:04
WORST?
I would think you meant to say BEST!!!

Love that butterscotch....I bunkered up on Taylor 86s and Charter 7s from the 70s and 80s specifically for that reason.

And Tangle Ridge - I've got a bottle that's been open for 5 years and hasn't gotten any less awful in that time. It must be good for something...perhaps in a cake or compote?

Roger

:grin:

I know and sometimes enjoy the butterscotchiness (is that a word? It is now, I guess) of the ND stuff, but the OC 7's aroma was so strong that I literally almost vomited once. It got stronger every time I opened the bottle, too.

But I guess one man's nausea is another man's yummy. At least I know where to send the next bottle I get like that!:lol:

nblair
03-12-2010, 12:11
In my limited experience with bourbon I have found that IMO a bottle usually changes for the better when its been opened 1-2 months.

loose proton
03-12-2010, 17:46
I've not noticed degradation with age of open bottles. But I use parafilm on cork bottles. And, when a bottle gets below a half or third I go ahead and work on it. From what I see on this board, there's consensus, open bottles that are okay when they are opened stay okay until about a quarter full then it's hit or miss.

Special Reserve
03-12-2010, 18:32
In my limited experience with bourbon I have found that IMO a bottle usually changes for the better when its been opened 1-2 months.

You'll have company there. I've sampled many a bottle that tasted better after being opened for awhile.

I've also had bottles that have been open for several years without deterioration.

As someone up-thread said YMMV

cowdery
03-12-2010, 19:11
Oxidation, enemy of whiskey in open bottles, is also one of the positive things that happens during barrel aging. Because the atmosphere inside the air space of a barrel is different from the atmosphere inside the open bottle in your pantry, the effects there, if noticable at all, are more often bad, but they can be beneficial if the whiskey hadn't quite oxidized enough when it was dumped. It's all oxidation. It's also oxidation at work when a freshly-poured bourbon needs a few minutes in the glass to open up.

p_elliott
03-12-2010, 22:06
I have an almost empty Lot B that's been open for well over a year and it's better now than it ever has been.

nblair
03-13-2010, 06:19
Chuck,

If you were to decant a bottle of bourbon through a unbleached coffee filter to sift out some cork, is it possible for the bourbon to "over-oxidize"?

BlueRobot
03-13-2010, 06:28
How about using a Nitrogen and Argon spray? I bought a can at my local upscale bourbon / wine seller.

I keep several bottles open at a time, and I always seal the more expensive ones up after using the spray.

IMHO - The flavor has not changed for any bottle that was open (even for a year or more).

Anyone else do this?

loose proton
03-13-2010, 08:49
How about using a Nitrogen and Argon spray? ...Anyone else do this?
A lot of wine people do this. Some few bourbon and scotch people do this, too. IMO, whiskey people that use a purge gas are mostly folks with higher end stuff. For me, a high end is over $100/bottle. For other people, a high end is over $2000/bottle.

whskylvr
03-13-2010, 09:37
I do use the wine preserve gas. When I open a new bottle I fill 2 two oz bottles and 1 four ounce bottle half full and gas the remaining bourbon in the bottle. I want to see how each reacts to the different enviroment over a period of time.

Yes to gassing my high end bourbon anything over $200

cowdery
03-13-2010, 12:25
Chuck,

If you were to decant a bottle of bourbon through a unbleached coffee filter to sift out some cork, is it possible for the bourbon to "over-oxidize"?

Oxidation is contact with the atmosphere. How long does filtering take? It's not oxidation, but a coffee filter is likely to remove more than cork particles and might alter the taste, but I don't see where oxidation would be the issue. Just speculating, though.

loose proton
03-13-2010, 15:17
I agree with Chuck. I waited till the expert weighed in before I said anything. Though filtering does bubble lots of air into the fluid and exposes a lot of air to the liquid, there's a time factor. IMO, time in the bottle with lots of air in headspace is a far greater oxidation risk than filtering.

p_elliott
03-13-2010, 22:41
Chuck,

If you were to decant a bottle of bourbon through a unbleached coffee filter to sift out some cork, is it possible for the bourbon to "over-oxidize"?

You read that at whisky magazine forum didn't you? It was a tongue in check response to a post I made telling someone how to get the cork out of their whisk(e)y. The writers were poking fun at another member for something that he had posted on another thread.

Special Reserve
03-14-2010, 05:26
To remove cork from bourbon when a cork breaks I've poured the bourbon into a quart Pyrex cup and removed the floating cork with a toothpick. Rinse the bottle with a little of the bourbon and replaced the remainder back into the bottle.
For the little oxidation that happens then, well that's life.

Stu
03-14-2010, 08:15
I guess I have no taste. I always leave it in the original bottle until it's less than 1/2 full, then move it to a clean 375ml, then later to a 200ml. On my everyday stuff that I drink regularly, I just drink it until the bottle is empty. That doesn't sound right, but I hope you know what I mean.

To remove cork, my wife has an extremely fine sieve in a tea ball. Any cork that gets through that doesn't bother me. Any cork that gets through that is finer than the charcoal we get from a whiskey from a barrel.

nblair
03-14-2010, 09:41
You read that at whisky magazine forum didn't you? It was a tongue in check response to a post I made telling someone how to get the cork out of their whisk(e)y. The writers were poking fun at another member for something that he had posted on another thread.

No, I actually did it with a bottle myself. Definitely tasted a little "off" afterwards. Seemed like the coffee filter worked kind of like decanting a bottle of wine. I thought maybe the exposure to the air by slowly dripping through the filter affected it, but like Chuck said maybe I filtered out more than just cork. Thanks for the input guys.

ILLfarmboy
03-14-2010, 13:15
To remove cork, my wife has an extremely fine sieve in a tea ball..

I use a fine tea strainer. I guess I'm not the only one.

woody
05-15-2010, 03:14
How about using one of the "permanent" coffee filters that use a fine mesh screen? So long as they are coated and not metal, I wouldnt think these would alter the taste as much as using the paper filters as they would only hold back larger particles (i.e. the cork). At least in theory. Anyone tried this?

ErichPryde
05-15-2010, 11:11
I agree with Chuck. I waited till the expert weighed in before I said anything. Though filtering does bubble lots of air into the fluid and exposes a lot of air to the liquid, there's a time factor. IMO, time in the bottle with lots of air in headspace is a far greater oxidation risk than filtering.



How about using one of the "permanent" coffee filters that use a fine mesh screen? So long as they are coated and not metal, I wouldnt think these would alter the taste as much as using the paper filters as they would only hold back larger particles (i.e. the cork). At least in theory. Anyone tried this?



I think that any time you reduce the volume to surface area significantly and expose the whiskey to a lot of air (i.e. "bubbling air" into the liquid through filtration) You are going to get oxidation. There IS a time factor, but if you have added oxygen to the liquid it will eventually bond with molecules in the whiskey and cause oxidation- and it will probably be more significant oxidation than if you'd just left your bottle alone. Unfortunately, the cork has to come out of the whiskey somehow.

So far, I've been lucky- I've been able to fish the small pieces of cork out of my whiskey with a clean ice pick or simply by tilting the bottle until the cork is clinging to the glass of the bottle. I haven't had a cork straight up disentegrate on me- yet.

I do like the idea of a strainer or metal coffee filter- I feel that filtering whiskey with something like a paper coffee filter probably will remove something more than just the cork.