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B.B. Babington
02-23-2011, 17:58
For fear of cork taint, I minimize stirring bottles. I'm thinking this is a mistake. I've noted that premium bottles often are best when new and that as they age they lose complexity. At first I assumed congeners lost to evaporation or air oxidation. Many members on this board noted that flavor profile doesn't dramatically change till getting to about bottom 5th of bottle so many assume oxidation is not a big deal.

Well, I've been working on a different theory and my latest sip of Woodford may corroborate. I was down to the last dribble of Woodford and the flavor was the same sweetness as expected. BUT then I poured the last shot and kapow, bitterness like drinking their Maple Finish. What happened? Same as the loss of complexity of the premiums!

Density!!!! Many of the congeners (aka complexity) are lower density and will rise in a stable bottle. Many of the tannins and other material are higher density and will sink in a stable bottle.

This raises another issue. Profile change from top to bottom of a barrel if a barrel is not shifted before dumping. Maybe this explains why a recent ER10 was nasty, but the ER10 I'm now sipping after the Woodford is Stagg worthy.

--Note that this is a far different issue than what moonshiners have long known: flavor profile changes depending on early portion of distillation versus latter distillation. We're talking collecting entire distillation and mixed into barrels.

kickert
02-23-2011, 19:06
There is also a shift in distribution of alcohol. In the distillery we will notice that a barrel of low wines (waiting on a second pass) will read a high proof if we siphon off the top than it will if we have agitated the barrel. There we are dealing with proofs around 60-70 so there is more room for seperation, but I bet the concept remains for a bottle of 80-100 proof that has been sitting for a while.

Pieface
02-23-2011, 19:18
Interesting stuff guys. I'll admit I am a bottle shaker. Not sure why but I like watching the way the juice behaves after a shake. Not everytime I take a pour but often enough during a bottles lifetime that I may offset some of this layering.

cowdery
02-23-2011, 19:20
This is an interesting theory and where it may be relevant to aging is that if a barrel is removed from the rack, debunged, and thiefed, it will have been well agitated before any whiskey is withdrawn. If a barrel is drilled, as is the usual practice, the profile near the fill level would be different from the profile near the bottom.

I reflexively shake most non-alcohol, non-carbonated beverages. While not shaking carbonated beverages makes sense, I don't know why I don't shake alcohol like I do everything else. On the other hand, I've never had a problem with separation.

So many of our alcohol beverage handing practices come from wine and you, historically, did not shake wine because it used to be normal for wines, especially reds, to have sediment in the bottle and you didn't want to stir that up.

ErichPryde
02-23-2011, 21:33
by ER10, I assume you mean Eagle rare single barrel? were they from the same barrel, or different ones? how many variables are you playing with, here?

you definitely have a point in there somewhere. I've had bottles get worse, get better, and not change at all with aging.

jdodso3
02-27-2011, 10:17
I have noticed quite a bit of difference in PVW rye that has sat on my shelf for a few months half to quarter left in the bottle. It seems to change quite a bit from when you first crack the bottle. I always assumed it was an oxidation issue though.

Interesting comment about the congeners and tannins.

cowdery
02-27-2011, 11:43
A whiskey can taste different each time you taste it for reasons that have nothing to do with the whiskey or with it changing in the bottle. Whiskey changes very little if at all in the bottle and usually noticably only under extreme circumstances, such as when a very small amount of whiskey is left in a bottle for years.

The more likely explantion is a change in something else such as, not to put this indelicately, whatever you had in your mouth right before you drank the whiskey, or some different aroma in the air, even your own body odor can affect how your drink tastes.

I'm not saying you stink or that whisky can't change in the bottle, just that a change in something other than the whiskey is the more likely explanation for your varying taste experiences.

Khomeinist
02-27-2011, 13:29
Well said Chuck. We are not scientific 'tasting machines' that can have our sampling parameters reset prior to each pour.

I would argue that it would be impossible to quantify all the variables and their associated effects. We don't even know enough about human consciousness at this point in time.

Apologies for the philosophical tangent. Interesting points about barrel and bottle separation.

jdodso3
02-27-2011, 19:19
This is also very true indeed.

squire
02-28-2011, 12:02
Of course there's always the possibility someone else is drinking it and refilling the bottle with water.

T Comp
03-01-2011, 06:46
A whiskey can taste different each time you taste it for reasons that have nothing to do with the whiskey or with it changing in the bottle. Whiskey changes very little if at all in the bottle and usually noticably only under extreme circumstances, such as when a very small amount of whiskey is left in a bottle for years.

The more likely explantion is a change in something else such as, not to put this indelicately, whatever you had in your mouth right before you drank the whiskey, or some different aroma in the air, even your own body odor can affect how your drink tastes.

I'm not saying you stink or that whisky can't change in the bottle, just that a change in something other than the whiskey is the more likely explanation for your varying taste experiences.

As I have commented on this myth before I'm happy to see someone with a little cachet help continue to slay it. Damn I'd make it a sticky. For me, recently cleaned wood floors (especially Murphy's oil soap) are a notorious taste changer.