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tanstaafl2
10-21-2012, 13:23
As bourbon and whiskey is discussed there is often discussion of airtime and how some bottles do better with a little time open (and some don't. Saz 18 perhaps which presumably has gotten lots of air sitting around in the tanks).

I looked but air is a tough search term. Has there ever been any discussion on the potential value or aerating whiskey, especially if is just opened for example, as one might do with a red wine?

I know that some feel whiskey does change with time once open due to oxidation, especially for a long time, and use nitrogen in bottles as discussed in this thread (http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?17109-Nitrogen-bottle-for-displacing-air-in-bourbon-bottles&highlight=nitrogen) but I didn't know if there were times when air was a "good thing"!

So how much effect might it have?

Young Blacksmith
10-21-2012, 19:03
It seems to depend on what whiskey it is. OWA for instance is just OK to me freshly opened. But dump half of it out into another bottle, and/or wait a few weeks, and you have something great! I also know a few guys who shake up a bottle after opening, before pouring, and after pouring to agitate and aerate the whiskey.

Bmac
10-21-2012, 19:58
I am a HUGE advocate for air time. Some whiskeys only take a few minutes and some whiskeys take MONTHS. Air acts on the whiskey's surface and begins to oxidize it. This oxidation changes the flavor within the whiskey. It's akin to adding water just without cutting it or lowering it's proof.

As previously mentioned OWA is improved fantastically by quite a bit of air time. Weller 12 was the same way for me. Also Lot B. So it seems wheaters really benefit the most. For me here are some of the others that tasted bunk upon opening but blossomed into incredible yumminess: CEHT Barrel Proof, 4R SB LE 2011, Woodford Reserve MC Maple Wood Finish, Willett 7yr, EWSB Vintage 2000, and Old Grandad 86 proof.

It has also been discussed that Rye whiskey does NOT benefit much from air time and in fact has a tendency to wither quite rapidly. This has been discussed about Saz18 in specific.

It would be nice to figure out what is it about wheated bourbons that blossom with air and Rye whiskey that withers with air.

T Comp
10-21-2012, 21:12
Call me a heretic or at least a skeptic...or maybe it's my lead tongue and urban air damaged nose...but it (air) and its effect on whiskey in a closed up bottle, is not something I've ever picked up on much, until you do get to oxidation (about 2 years). I've said it before...I'd love to see more blind tasting on the phenomena and remain a doubter till then. What about whiskey/whisky bars with extremely rare pours that can be had for the right money but from a bottle that has been opened for who knows how short or long and varying fill levels?

LongBeachScott
10-21-2012, 21:23
I, too, am a believer in air helping out whiskeys in general and wheaters in particular. Fortunately, I haven't had any that needed months. Usually a week or two. I have tried to accelerate the aeration effect by using a Vinturi like people use for wine, but it doesn't seem to help that first glass out of the bottle. Sometimes I just save an empty bottle and pour half a new bottle into the old and let them open up that way.

STLbourbon
10-21-2012, 21:41
Another HUGE fan of giving OWA and Weller 12 year some air time. I like to blend them in a half filled bottle, shake it up, and then 3 or more weeks later, and especially after 8 weeks, it's a whole new animal that could easily be sold as one of the premium Weller/VanWinkle variants. SO good. The change is not subtle, and it's entirely for the better. Very interesting that it's suggested that ryes don't benefit like wheaters do. I may have to test that theory here at home. My half drunk bottle of last years Pappy 15 is easily every bit as tasty now as when it was opened last fall. ORVW10/107, same deal.

STLbourbon

Tico
10-21-2012, 21:59
Definitely wheaters

ive had mixed experiences with wheaters on day one, some are great and some are flat. Recently popped a bottle of Willett 20yr (SW) that was depressingly flat on day one. A few weeks later it has blossomed into some tremendous stuff.

fishnbowljoe
10-21-2012, 22:00
My thoughts on whiskey and air.....

Well, you have to breathe, and you have to drink.

Nuff Ced. :lol:

angler82
10-22-2012, 06:03
In general I don't notice a huge difference in taste between a freshly opened bottle and one that has been opened for a while.

Wheaters open up a little bit over time as previously mentioned.
Old ryes (Saz 18, Vintage 21, VWFRR, etc) seem to lose a little bit of their rye bite.
Everything else tastes the same over time.

White Dog
10-22-2012, 06:41
As many opinions as there are drinkers.

For me, air will affect all types of Whiskey.

Wheaters are helped the most by being opened for longer. The longer they're open, the more decadent they become. Rye-recipe will slightly improve. When it comes to Rye, I try to drink them quickly, as I feel they loose their edge.

But as always, YMMV. The only way for you to know, is to experiment yourself.

tanstaafl2
10-22-2012, 07:10
Thanks for the thoughts! Keep 'em coming!

I was particularly interested in the value of using a wine vinturi and it sounds like in at least one case that did not seem to make much difference. I do plan to experiment with that just to see, especially with new bottles of wheaters. Mostly for my own curiosity.

I do tend to have a fair number of oen bottles that can sit for awhile because I like to taste what I have when I buy it. But many of them have only a small amount of air in them as a result. But even trying to take notes it is hard to track for differences over time, especially subtle ones.

ebo
10-22-2012, 09:31
My thoughts on whiskey and air.....

Well, you have to breathe, and you have to drink.

Nuff Ced. :lol:

:toast:
.............

cowdery
10-25-2012, 11:24
This is one of those 'fussy' questions, and people who like that sort of thing will have fun with it, there's nothing wrong with that.

If you like to fuss with things, then by all means fuss. Drinking whiskey is about enjoyment and if fussing enhances your enjoyment, then fuss.

But if you're wondering if aeration is necessary or widely practiced, no and no. Exposure to the air can change how a whiskey tastes to you, so that maybe 10 or 15 minutes in the glass before you take the first drink seems to improve it, but if you let it sit for an hour or two, you probably won't like the result. And if you've ever sampled the dregs from a glass left out the night before, you won't do so again. So if a little air is good, more would be better, is probably poor logic.

CoMobourbon
10-25-2012, 14:24
Point of clarification:

Does "air time" mean time exposed directly to the open air? Or, does "air time" mean time after the bottle was opened (but then re-closed)?

If the former, then I tend to agree with Chuck. If the latter, then I am tracking with the majority on the benefits of air time in wheaters.

tanstaafl2
10-25-2012, 15:12
Point of clarification:

Does "air time" mean time exposed directly to the open air? Or, does "air time" mean time after the bottle was opened (but then re-closed)?

If the former, then I tend to agree with Chuck. If the latter, then I am tracking with the majority on the benefits of air time in wheaters.

To clarify, I suppose I was talking air time in 2 different situations. One was opening a new bottle of something that has already been noted by others to seem to be better after it has been had a little air time, wheaters for example, and asking if something like a venturi used with red wine would make a notable contribution (or does just sitting there for 10-15 minutes provide enough air for example).

The other was the impact on bottles that have been unsealed (but kept closed when not in use), what impact and how quickly does air have an effect on it and whether it is worthwhile to put something like nitrogen on them if they are likely to spend relatively long times on the shelf to minimize loss of flavor. And I suppose at what point might it be worth the time and effort, 3/4 full? Half full? 3/4 empty? Never?

It is not like I have lots of half full bottles of super pricey booze on the shelf but I do tend to have a lot of bottles open (some of which aren't exactly cheap!) and sitting on the shelf for extended periods with varying levels of fullness (although most are closer to full than empty I must confess) and while they may not be terribly expensive in the grand scheme of things they are a considerable investment to me, especially taken as a whole!

cowdery
10-25-2012, 15:29
I understand air time to mean you open a bottle, pour a drink, then let the drink sit for a few minutes before you take the first sip. This requires either intense will power or very careful planning, but that's how I understand it. I usually notice the air time benefit after my third or fourth sip.

Air in the partially empty bottle is an entirely different matter. As for just opening the bottle to let it breath, that's about as useless with whiskey as it is with wine. The opening allows too little air circulation to have any meaningful effect in the 5 to 15 minutes we're talking about.

tanstaafl2
10-25-2012, 15:37
I understand air time to mean you open a bottle, pour a drink, then let the drink sit for a few minutes before you take the first sip. This requires either intense will power or very careful planning, but that's how I understand it. I usually notice the air time benefit after my third or fourth sip.

Air in the partially empty bottle is an entirely different matter. As for just opening the bottle to let it breath, that's about as useless with whiskey as it is with wine. The opening allows too little air circulation to have any meaningful effect in the 5 to 15 minutes we're talking about.

It does indeed take a lot of will power! Since I have very little I suppose it is why I was hoping to perhaps move the process along with something like a venturi.

Sounds like perhaps some things just need to develop in their own time!

smokinjoe
10-25-2012, 15:57
Sure, a little air after pouring can be beneficial. But, I draw the line there. This compulsion with some folks' bottles showing epic leaps in drinkability over time as the bottle has been opened, and the continued application of this phenomenom seemingly on every bottle commented on in the past several months...is....well...balderdash. By the way, I thought the same thing with the "excess air" theory that was all the rage of every post for about 1-1/2 years, a couple of years ago. Heck, people were being advised to throw out a bottle because it had oxidized with too much air, if it had been open over 30 days...:rolleyes:

We all, I think, try to bring reasoning as to why a bourbon tastes differently from time to time. You want to know the reason? Look in the mirror. We change...a lot. The whiskey, not so much.

HighInTheMtns
10-25-2012, 16:14
Sure, a little air after pouring can be beneficial. But, I draw the line there. This compulsion with some folks' bottles showing epic leaps in drinkability over time as the bottle has been opened, and the continued application of this phenomenom seemingly on every bottle commented on in the past several months...is....well...balderdash. By the way, I thought the same thing with the "excess air" theory that was all the rage of every post for about 1-1/2 years, a couple of years ago. Heck, people were being advised to throw out a bottle because it had oxidized with too much air, if it had been open over 30 days...:rolleyes:

We all, I think, try to bring reasoning as to why a bourbon tastes differently from time to time. You want to know the reason? Look in the mirror. We change...a lot. The whiskey, not so much.
I just finished a bottle of '08 Saz 18 that had been open since 2009. I can't compare how the last pour tasted to the first pour, because I have no recollection of the first pour. What I do know is that it was very enjoyable to the last pour. It's something I just don't worry about.

I do however think that the belief that the end (last 1/4 or so) of a bottle has too much exposure to air and will oxidize quickly has value as motivation to finish it off and make room for something else!

jersey12
10-25-2012, 18:34
Totally agree with Joe that the taster has much more to do how the same whiskey tastes over time. I just recently started having my wife pour a little from each of my four open bottles to taste blind and the results of the same tastings spread out about two weeks were somewhat surprising. Pretty sure that the whiskey was primarily the same over that same period but my palate seems to be constantly evolving.

T Comp
10-25-2012, 18:45
Sure, a little air after pouring can be beneficial. But, I draw the line there. This compulsion with some folks' bottles showing epic leaps in drinkability over time as the bottle has been opened, and the continued application of this phenomenom seemingly on every bottle commented on in the past several months...is....well...balderdash. By the way, I thought the same thing with the "excess air" theory that was all the rage of every post for about 1-1/2 years, a couple of years ago. Heck, people were being advised to throw out a bottle because it had oxidized with too much air, if it had been open over 30 days...:rolleyes:

We all, I think, try to bring reasoning as to why a bourbon tastes differently from time to time. You want to know the reason? Look in the mirror. We change...a lot. The whiskey, not so much.

I agree with you so much Joe I'll even quote myself from page 1 :cool:. And by closed up bottle, I meant one that has been opened up and poured from, but the cap or cork properly put back into said bottle...which if you've been around mid 20 year olds drinking spirits, doesn't always happen :bigeyes:.


Call me a heretic or at least a skeptic...or maybe it's my lead tongue and urban air damaged nose...but it (air) and its effect on whiskey in a closed up bottle, is not something I've ever picked up on much, until you do get to oxidation (about 2 years). I've said it before...I'd love to see more blind tasting on the phenomena and remain a doubter till then. What about whiskey/whisky bars with extremely rare pours that can be had for the right money but from a bottle that has been opened for who knows how short or long and varying fill levels?

MyOldKyDram
10-25-2012, 18:58
Perhaps it's all psychosomatic then. Maybe it's just groupthink. I don't know. And I don't know if it's anything that you could even begin to calculate or quantify. But I can name several whiskies, bourbons, what have you that certainly seem to improve with time. And then there are others that I tend to drink faster because they seem to lose a good quality or three the longer they've been opened. So whatever it is, I guess I'll just continue to err on the side of my perception.

Bmac
10-25-2012, 19:05
Whether it's "balderdash", whimsy, imagination, or conspiracy, it is a thing. In fact I ran into this recently with my bottle of CEHT BP. I had just opened and tasted Booker's and it was awesome. So my pallate was ready for CEHT. I cracked it open and pour a dram and I'm sorry, it was complete $#1t. Utter crap. Felt like I had just swilled jalapeno vegitable oil. 15 mins later (the cap was replaced after the first pour) I gave it a second shot. It then tasted like a bourbon with the standard flavors we all have come to love.

So yeah, tasting is believing.

B.B. Babington
10-25-2012, 19:11
This is definitely a "your mileage may vary" issue!

For my taste, I STRONGLY agree with Chuck. I use a watch glass over my glass to keep air out. I don't want to lose the congeners which I value. But perhaps another sipper would prefer to lose some of those nasty congeners, after all, they can contribute to hangover.

Another important point is sitting in the bottle. To my taste, a third empty bottle loses flair and a 4/5 empty bottle needs to be finished. Too much air means too much loss of interesting character that set that sip apart from the bottle next to it.

DaveOfAtl
10-25-2012, 20:11
I have never been able to detect an actual change in the flavors of a bourbon based on air time. I think some air helps mellow out particularly hot bourbons (OWA comes to mind). Maybe that's why a lot of people give OWA extra air time, either in the bottle or the glass. I also agree that if a 1/3 empty bottle sits long enough, it loses some of its punch. But the actual flavor profile never really changes to me. Now I do think - as Joe mentioned - that our palates change based on a number of things, particularly what we've just eaten. But assuming I haven't just eaten a taco, I've never had a bourbon taste like jalapeņos one day and caramel popcorn the next.

CoMobourbon
10-25-2012, 20:14
Perhaps it's all psychosomatic then. Maybe it's just groupthink. I don't know. And I don't know if it's anything that you could even begin to calculate or quantify. But I can name several whiskies, bourbons, what have you that certainly seem to improve with time. And then there are others that I tend to drink faster because they seem to lose a good quality or three the longer they've been opened. So whatever it is, I guess I'll just continue to err on the side of my perception.


This is one of those 'fussy' questions, and people who like that sort of thing will have fun with it, there's nothing wrong with that.

If you like to fuss with things, then by all means fuss. Drinking whiskey is about enjoyment and if fussing enhances your enjoyment, then fuss.

But if you're wondering if aeration is necessary or widely practiced, no and no. Exposure to the air can change how a whiskey tastes to you, so that maybe 10 or 15 minutes in the glass before you take the first drink seems to improve it, but if you let it sit for an hour or two, you probably won't like the result. And if you've ever sampled the dregs from a glass left out the night before, you won't do so again. So if a little air is good, more would be better, is probably poor logic.


Sure, a little air after pouring can be beneficial. But, I draw the line there. This compulsion with some folks' bottles showing epic leaps in drinkability over time as the bottle has been opened, and the continued application of this phenomenom seemingly on every bottle commented on in the past several months...is....well...balderdash. By the way, I thought the same thing with the "excess air" theory that was all the rage of every post for about 1-1/2 years, a couple of years ago. Heck, people were being advised to throw out a bottle because it had oxidized with too much air, if it had been open over 30 days...:rolleyes:

We all, I think, try to bring reasoning as to why a bourbon tastes differently from time to time. You want to know the reason? Look in the mirror. We change...a lot. The whiskey, not so much.


Totally agree with Joe that the taster has much more to do how the same whiskey tastes over time. I just recently started having my wife pour a little from each of my four open bottles to taste blind and the results of the same tastings spread out about two weeks were somewhat surprising. Pretty sure that the whiskey was primarily the same over that same period but my palate seems to be constantly evolving.

It could go without saying, I hope, that all of these subjectivity theories apply to the act of drinking whiskey in general (and not just to the effects of air time). In other words, all taste, not just air time disparities, is always all us (personally and collectively), and the whiskey itself has little or nothing to do with it. Really, the practice of drinking fermented-grain-wood-water, not to mention the notion that some versions of it are tastier than others, comes entirely from us and has basically nothing to do with the external characteristics of the fermented-grain-wood-water.

Basically, Chuck has proposed that fussiness with things like air time can maybe improve enjoyment of the whiskey. But is it not more accurate to say that all enjoyment of whiskey is fussiness?

I mean, if we call conversations about the effects of air time silly, could we not call this whole website silly?

cowdery
10-25-2012, 20:40
Certainly if one had one of these venturi of which you speak, one probably would try it on some whiskey. Easy enough experiment, what?

It's not silly and it is why this web site exists. I think it's fair to call it fussy. It's certainly not necessary. But it's interesting if that sort of thing interests you and if it doesn't, go read something else.

B.B. Babington
10-25-2012, 20:55
...all taste, not just air time disparities, is always all us ... and the whiskey itself has little or nothing to do with it. ...the notion that some versions of it are tastier than others, comes entirely from us and has basically nothing to do with the external characteristics of the fermented-grain-wood-water...
I'm guessing you were a philosophy major in college. True, sometimes our judgement of quality is skewed by the society in which we chose to inhabit. True, perceptions of anything are subjective. But there are inherent qualities within each bottle, particular to chemical constituents in solution, that effect sensory receptors (tongue, nasal cavity) in certain ways which in turn have impact on the central nervous system synapses for cognitive function leading to perception and judgement ... such as deciding this whiskey is good and this other one sucks.

Restaurant man
10-25-2012, 21:13
In the world of cognac collectors with bottles that have been open forever (20 years ++) they do not worry about changing flavors. Only evaporation.

luther.r
10-25-2012, 21:44
I figure this should be easy enough to do a blind test of. Buy two OWAs from the same place, same batch etc. Open one and pour half of it into another bottle. Wait a few weeks. Then open both bottles (one for the first time) on the same night and do some blind tasting. I might just do this myself when my local shop gets their OWA 1B back in.

CoMobourbon
10-26-2012, 01:00
It's not silly and it is why this web site exists. I think it's fair to call it fussy. It's certainly not necessary. But it's interesting if that sort of thing interests you and if it doesn't, go read something else.

Just for reference, I in no way meant to challenge you on your assessment or your choice of words; I think you are dead on. I just think that your assessment has a wider scope than you acknowledged in that particular post. I mean, if we can say that air time worry is unnecessary, we can just as easily say that any thoughtful or methodological whiskey drinking is unnecessary. Indeed, the site exists for such non-necessities. (And clearly I for 1 out of thousands find this interesting enough to read.)


I'm guessing you were a philosophy major in college. True, sometimes our judgement of quality is skewed by the society in which we chose to inhabit. True, perceptions of anything are subjective. But there are inherent qualities within each bottle, particular to chemical constituents in solution, that effect sensory receptors (tongue, nasal cavity) in certain ways which in turn have impact on the central nervous system synapses for cognitive function leading to perception and judgement ... such as deciding this whiskey is good and this other one sucks.

No, worse. I was a philosophy major wannabe.

But with my totally faux-intellectualism, I think I can point out that you are still missing a couple points.

First, I think you are describing quite a short-circuit from chemical composition of whiskey to the nervous system to perception and judgement. Lots and lots of stuff going on in "cognitive function" in between chemistry and perception (like "judgement" factors based on "the society we choose to inhabit"). These subjective factors don't influence the process of perception after the fact but rather are integral to the process itself.

More importantly, I think you are missing my proposition about how whiskey in particular has more to do with social influence and subjectivity - and much less to do with chemical composition - than most other things we eat and drink. When it comes down to it, there are really only a few tastes that our bodies (that whole sensory-and-nervous-system you described) have a natural hankering for: saltiness, fattiness, and maybe sugaryness. A peanut chocolate ice cream sundae covers it - and does so in a way that whiskey could never approximate (no matter how sweet we might say that it is). But there are not thousands of bloggers reviewing the fine distinctions between ice cream sundaes (there are probably some, but you get what I am saying here).

There is no natural reason (besides maybe the convergence of alcohol and palatability) that we should like whiskey. But we do. And we do so because we develop associations that transcend what our bodies naturally want. Insert whatever word for these arbitrary subjective interests: fussy, silly, unnatural, unnecessary, connoisseur-ship, etc. Don't get me wrong; these subjective elements are great and everything. I like whiskey. I just think that it is a little ironic to point out that air time worry is unnecessary when, really, all whiskey tasting is (distinctively) unnecessary.

msong
10-26-2012, 09:20
It's interesting. I just opened a bottle of PVW 15 & 20 and neither taste like what I remembered of my older bottles, however the nose is as I recall. Now, I'm doing a quick experiment myself. I poured both into two smaller bottles with proportionally more air and also two glasses with even more air. I'll let them sit for a few days or a week and see if there is any noticeable difference.

AaronWF
10-26-2012, 09:49
I don't pay much if any attention to the effect of air time on the whiskey in my glass, but I definitely pay attention to the experience of drinking a bottle over time. As several people have alluded to, there's something tricky about having an opinion on the matter of whiskey changing in the bottle over time... First, by framing the question as to whether air has an effect on whiskey in an opened bottle or not, you're making an assumption that if you notice a change in the way the whiskey tastes, you have air to thank (or blame). Clearly, that assumption does not hold water with people who also notice the changing taste of a whiskey but instead believe that their own changing palate is responsible for the differing perceptions, and that the whiskey is a constant. Surely, if you believe one or the other, you cannot rule out that both time spent in an open bottle and your own morphing palate are each independent variables that come together to form the experience of tasting whiskey.

I put a lot of value in getting to know a whiskey by drinking through a bottle of it over time, as opposed to, say, reviewing a whiskey based on a small sample. Clearly, with all the variables that can contribute to how you experience a whiskey on a given night, hitting a bottle over time can really be the only way to get a full picture of the juice. I'm still trying to understand the implications of judging whiskey based on a blind-tasted sample, as there's no doubt in my mind that expectations play a HUGE part in influencing your experience. I suppose the best way to divorce oneself from expectations would be to drink through a whole bottle blind, but that would be pretty hard to pull off!

As for using a Vinturi, sounds to me like just another variable to pile on top of all the others. I wonder how drinking whiskey while hanging upside down might affect the taste...

B.B. Babington
10-26-2012, 19:46
Caveat: knee deep into comparing 3 different barrels of Evan Williams SB 2012, watching palladium, Joe Bonamassa concert finished & now into David Gilmour.

as AaronWF noted, there are many factors at play in perception of a sip. Take a sip from bottle and it's yech, next week it's lovely. Those that go the next level look at glass, environment, bread or taco for dinner, etc. Some prefer rocks, others hand warmth. A refined palate begins to distinguish multifarious contributors to the experience. If I drink on my back deck in the woods looking at the moon, it's different than if I drink in my front yard looking at the stars. And Aaron's note about blind taste vs label is a real factor. Frankly, I've had Evan Williams SB bottles I'd put next to a Parker's and be happy. Or an ER10 bottle that could be sipped with ER17 and Stagg. But when I see the label, I know I'm drinking something that somebody that knows more than me thinks is good.

Restaurant Man noted cognac collectors with 20+ yr opened bottles. I put parafilm on my tops to keep them fresher because I know simply putting the cork back isn't always enough, because I too have many bottles opened for over a decade and have dealt with very many different types of bottles (not whiskey) over a hundred years old. What I've noticed after having over a hundred premium bottles opened over time, is that when they are first opened they are super OMG unbelievable, but then over time they become merely great. Personal opinion is that there's more than many factors contributing to that, nod again to AaronWF. But one thing for sure, when the bottle's been opened for a while and getting down, it's starting to go into the realm of just real good ... for my taste ... and your mileage may vary.

CoMoBourbon, the natural reason we like whiskey is ethanol works on pleasure centers of brain (as stimulant & etc) and somewhat deadens negative feelings we may have.

Please do not think I'm trivializing the argument with sarcasm; CoMoBourbon is correct that there's lots going on between beverage chemical composition to higher brain function, and if one wishes to peruse hundreds of millions of pages of scientific and philosophical literature, one would begin to get a grasp of the problem. CoMoBourbon is also correct that the masses do perceive quality based on social pressures, as beautifully exemplified with Vodka's success.

Inappropriately beginning a new paragraph to amplify the point: many straightbourbon.com participants are NOT among the masses and can arrive at quality perceptions without much bias from peers. After having sampled tens of thousands of different whiskeys, one begins to develop an educated palate to distinguish more refined concepts/perceptions of what one prefers. Who decides what costs $10/liter and $250/bottle? At one end, it's the refined perceptions of persons at the distillery. Or the learned critic like Chuck Cowdery or John Hansell. Distilleries don't pull all the best juice, and I find an OMG Evan Williams SB that could be better than Parkers. Yes, sometimes it's marketing that gets me to the first bottle; but for the second bottle, there are some bottles I won't take for free and others I'd drop $300 for, and not blink an eye.

Bmac
10-27-2012, 07:32
To me, this discussion is similar to debate over whether quality speaker cables enhance sound quality. Some can hear a difference and others cannot. Oddly enough, those with the most influence do not detect a difference and often do not have strong reasons for why it cannot be. Those who can percieve a difference often have strong reasons, often with scientific data as back up, for why it's there.

This debate is the same. Those with the most influence say it doesn't change a crap whiskey into a phenomonal one, while others who've had the experience, swear by it and can back it up with science, and testimony.

We've heard enough reasons for why air oxidizes alcohol. I want to hear reasosn for why air cannot possibly change th flavor of whiskey in an opened, but corked bottle, over time.

Trey Manthey
10-27-2012, 10:23
To me, this discussion is similar to debate over whether quality speaker cables enhance sound quality. Some can hear a difference and others cannot. Oddly enough, those with the most influence do not detect a difference and often do not have strong reasons for why it cannot be. Those who can percieve a difference often have strong reasons, often with scientific data as back up, for why it's there.

You are describing that example backwards. Those who supposedly detect a difference claim to have "golden ears", while those who claim no difference will back up their experience with double blind tests and waveform analysis.

It's not so easy to make a snake oil claim when it comes to taste. Analyzing sound pressure's effect on eardrums is a piece of cake compared to measuring the chemical interaction between whiskey and the nose/mouth.

Bmac
10-27-2012, 15:16
You are describing that example backwards. Those who supposedly detect a difference claim to have "golden ears", while those who claim no difference will back up their experience with double blind tests and waveform analysis.

It's not so easy to make a snake oil claim when it comes to taste. Analyzing sound pressure's effect on eardrums is a piece of cake compared to measuring the chemical interaction between whiskey and the nose/mouth.
I disagree. Alhough this be a discussion for a non-bourbon thread, but Non-believers in highend cable disprove by saying they used lamp wire and high end cable and couldnt tell a difference. Proponents for use scientific data. Don't beleive me, read all about it at AudioQuests website.

Restaurant man
10-27-2012, 23:02
I disagree. Alhough this be a discussion for a non-bourbon thread, but Non-believers in highend cable disprove by saying they used lamp wire and high end cable and couldnt tell a difference. Proponents for use scientific data. Don't beleive me, read all about it at AudioQuests website.

With all due respect, the statement "this be a discussion" is not proper English and far below your normal high standard of grammar. I've always cited bmac as one of the pillars of the SB grammar community. I'm gonna have to meditate on that now. Hopefully my guru can help me put into a universal perspective. I'll be in touch

Bmac
10-28-2012, 05:27
Lol!!!! My bad there, typing on a BlackBerry PlayBook has a few challenges. I am much better at typing and proof reading on a computer. By the time I realized the grammar error, I couldn't edit the post. Also this device thinks it's neccessary to insert periods at random when you press the spacebar. I will strive to be less careless in the future.
With all due respect, the statement "this be a discussion" is not proper English and far below your normal high standard of grammar. I've always cited bmac as one of the pillars of the SB grammar community. I'm gonna have to meditate on that now. Hopefully my guru can help me put into a universal perspective. I'll be in touch

darylld911
10-28-2012, 06:01
What I want to know is how different kinds of air impact the whiskey over time. I mean - if you're in a smog-covered city versus the countryside, or at different altitudes, or proximity to the ocean. Someone needs to take some bottles and coordinate having them opened at the exact same time in different parts of the country, and then all driven to a central location for a blind tasting. Although I'm not sure if the air from the central location will destroy the experiment . . .

MyOldKyDram
10-28-2012, 06:08
Coming soon, CEHT Smog Surviving Bourbon.

Bmac
10-28-2012, 08:42
What I want to know is how different kinds of air impact the whiskey over time. I mean - if you're in a smog-covered city versus the countryside, or at different altitudes, or proximity to the ocean. Someone needs to take some bottles and coordinate having them opened at the exact same time in different parts of the country, and then all driven to a central location for a blind tasting. Although I'm not sure if the air from the central location will destroy the experiment . . .
Well, if you were being serious then there is only one way to do that. Have someone from a clean air environment open a bottle and let it sit, then take a sample and send it. Then have the smog-ridden person do the same for the exact same amount of air time.

Although I am not a chemist by any stretch, it might help to know if the chemicals that make up smog have an effect on water and whiskey in a similar manner as oxygen.

WAINWRIGHT
10-28-2012, 15:13
I have always thought some open time on a bottle may help improve their profile but only slightly and generally wheaters in perticular.I have seen a decline in profile of dramatic proportion once a this was in a Saz 18,not really a loss of overall flavor mind you but of the vibrance of the whiskey.I had a friend bring me a sample to taste blind,of which he would give me no inside what so ever to see if I could name this whiskey or identify in any way.I nosed the sample and could purely pick this as a wheater but from there I was at a loss.I thought maybe BTEC Bernheim or V17 but it was muddled,it was as if it was a overly watered down pour.He was amazed I couldn't name this whiskey,PVW15 was the pour I had just tried to identify.The sample I had was a mere shadow of its former self,it had some characteristics that were still present but in no way the great pour it once was.This was an '08 bottling,low fill that had been open for nearly 2 years.I have never had an experience with oxidation to this extreme and frankly didn't think it was possible to this extent.I have a tendency to keep a lot of open bottles and some with low fill levels,after this eye opening experience I will be sure to monitor my bottles more closely.I have just recently begun to transfer to smaller bottles after I hit the half fill level,I don't know if this was a freak instance but it has surely opened my eyes to the issue of oxidation and proper storage of bottles.

fussychicken
10-29-2012, 13:30
This is one of those 'fussy' questions, and people who like that sort of thing will have fun with it, there's nothing wrong with that.

If you like to fuss with things, then by all means fuss.

Did someone call my name?! :)

Just to add to the conversation FWIW, and also fully aware that memory is a fragile thing, I've found that my open bottles of whiskey hold up pretty well. However, I've had a few Cognacs that didn't seem to keep their rich flavors and also had less of a finish after being open a couple of years.

RWBadley
10-29-2012, 14:01
Did someone call my name?! :)

Just to add to the conversation FWIW, and also fully aware that memory is a fragile thing, I've found that my open bottles of whiskey hold up pretty well. However, I've had a few Cognacs that didn't seem to keep their rich flavors and also had less of a finish after being open a couple of years.

My observation is that most cognac are of lower proof, generally around 80 or occasionally a bit more. They will tend to go soft on the palate sooner with exposure to airtime I should think.

Something I have yet to see addressed, and it is an issue I have considered that is not far off the bottle/air topic- is whether alcohol stratification occurs within the bottle that creates a flavor change.

Logic would follow that since water and alcohol are different specific gravity the upper level of bottle should release more alcohols into the pour than when the bottle fill has been depleted. This could account for some of what we might experience that has mostly been attributed to air/oxidation within the bottle remainder.

If we think the bottle while full pours with a more intense (especially of alcohol) flavor while the last half of the bottle seems more subdued, could some difference in that pour be attributed to the degree with which the upper level containing the lighter alcohol has been poured off leaving the remainder which should contain slightly more water content. Note: Consideration that many of our bottles spend much time stationary upon a shelf waiting for us to return to them, then generally a small pour and carefully returned to shelf.

I have been creating a bit of gentle shaking to happen on some of these bottles to find out if there seems to be any merit to this idea, but I then suppose that at some point it just introduces oxygen and the control is flawed... :rolleyes: so now I just drink the doggone stuff.

Cheers,

RW

Brisko
10-29-2012, 14:24
One thing I've noticed, in the short term, is that certain hot, sour, woody notes that can be really overpowering (to me, anyway) tend to disappear within a few days of being opened. Off the top of my head the examples I can think of are: KCSB (only one, the rest have been good right off the bat), current Old Fitz BiB, OWA, and a Willett 5-year rye. To a lesser extent, the bottle of ER 10/90 that I used for a recent VBT is a lot less oak driven after a few days than it was the first time around.

This effect is much more pronounced than the long term ones being discussed, but I think it's very real. In some cases these were bottles that were practically undrinkable at first pour.

bad_scientist
10-29-2012, 14:43
One thing I've noticed, in the short term, is that certain hot, sour, woody notes that can be really overpowering (to me, anyway) tend to disappear within a few days of being opened. Off the top of my head the examples I can think of are: KCSB (only one, the rest have been good right off the bat), current Old Fitz BiB, OWA, and a Willett 5-year rye. To a lesser extent, the bottle of ER 10/90 that I used for a recent VBT is a lot less oak driven after a few days than it was the first time around.

This effect is much more pronounced than the long term ones being discussed, but I think it's very real. In some cases these were bottles that were practically undrinkable at first pour.

Have you tried 4RSB? For all but two bottles, I had to wait about a month before they were ready. The same goes for the SmB.

My latest SB bottle is a notable exception, but the only other time I felt one was enjoyable right off the bat was one I got from the gift shop. That one started out great and then just died after a few weeks. Go figure...

Rutherford
10-29-2012, 14:52
Something I have yet to see addressed, and it is an issue I have considered that is not far off the bottle/air topic- is whether alcohol stratification occurs within the bottle that creates a flavor change.

Logic would follow that since water and alcohol are different specific gravity the upper level of bottle should release more alcohols into the pour than when the bottle fill has been depleted. This could account for some of what we might experience that has mostly been attributed to air/oxidation within the bottle remainder.

If we think the bottle while full pours with a more intense (especially of alcohol) flavor while the last half of the bottle seems more subdued, could some difference in that pour be attributed to the degree with which the upper level containing the lighter alcohol has been poured off leaving the remainder which should contain slightly more water content. Note: Consideration that many of our bottles spend much time stationary upon a shelf waiting for us to return to them, then generally a small pour and carefully returned to shelf.

I think that is an interesting theory, but it does not fit well with thermodynamics. Alcohol and water molecules have a strong affinity for one another (they release heat while mixing, the resulting product takes up less volume than the constituents, the viscosity of the product is greater than the viscosity of the parts, entropy increases, etc), so any significant differences in composition would have to result from a significant gradient in temperature or pressure. I do think it is possible for some of the lighter aromatic flavor compounds to be concentrated toward the top of the bottle, as it is non-ethanol organic molecules which provide most of the flavor and aroma, but probably not to a significant extent given the short height of liquor bottles.

Brisko
10-29-2012, 14:54
Have you tried 4RSB? For all but two bottles, I had to wait about a month before they were ready. The same goes for the SmB.

My latest SB bottle is a notable exception, but the only other time I felt one was enjoyable right off the bat was one I got from the gift shop. That one started out great and then just died after a few weeks. Go figure...

Yes, I've noted the same thing with 4RSB. The Small Batch doesn't bother me, though. The last SB I had didn't change much, either, although it wasn't horrible to begin with by any means.

I just remembered another example, an oak-aged slivovitz that was an absolute oak-liquer at first. Whatever it is, this sour, oaky, hot note just numbs the hell out of my tongue, too. And it's not related to alcohol content.

qman22
10-30-2012, 06:52
I think this is really interesting discussion and it got me to thinking. What is the difference between the whiskey being exposed to air in the barrel versus being exposed in an open bottle? Barrels aren't air tight or they wouldn't have evaporation, so really the whiskey has been exposed to air for virtually its entire existence. Perhaps the oxidation of the whiskey in the barrel plays a large roll in the aging process, and helps determine when a particular barrel is "ready". Then once that whiskey is bottled, then opened, the oxidation of that whiskey simply continues where it left off.... having variable positive or negative effects depending on the whiskey itself and time opened.

cowdery
10-30-2012, 15:31
One thing that bothers me about this subject is that, from drinking session to drinking session, several other things are more likely to change than the whiskey. By which I mean your own sense organs and the environment that affects them, what's in the air you're breathing, what was the last thing you had in your mouth (if you'll pardon the expression), even your mood. Doesn't everything taste better when you're happy?

My sense (not empirically proved) is that those factors are more likely to affect the way whiskey tastes to you from occasion to occasion than changes to the whiskey itself. Also, sense memory can be fickle, like all memory, I suppose. Someone needs to design an experiment that allows for a meaningful control.

MauiSon
10-30-2012, 16:20
That sounds easy. Just open a bottle and pour into two half bottles. Pour one back into the original bottle. Cork both and wait a month (or 2 - 6). Then, compare. The temporal factors are completely erased, except for the tasting-order factor.

gblick
11-03-2012, 01:16
We've heard enough reasons for why air oxidizes alcohol. I want to hear reasosn for why air cannot possibly change th flavor of whiskey in an opened, but corked bottle, over time.The way I see it is that there is only a finite amount of oxygen in the airspace of a bottle, and once that oxygen has been depleted (I don't know how long this takes) the taste will no longer change. But once you open the bottle again, and let in more fresh air, the taste can evolve some more until the oxygen contained within is once again depleted. Kinda makes sense to me, but in reality I'm just theorizing.

skidfive
11-03-2012, 17:35
I know I am new here but this is a very interesting thread. I just wanted to add that I had picked up a bottle of wild turkey 101 at the store the other day for my usually mixing with pepsi. I noticed the bottle had a dried line around the plastic when I took it off and that the paper seal that covers the top/cork was a different color. My initial thought was that something had spilled on it so no big deal.

So I make a drink mixed and I can tell straight off the bat that it tasted different the a normal fresh opened bottle of WT101. I went back to the bottle and poured a straight glass and the smell was not "normal" either. I tasted it and came to the same conclusion as the mixed drink that I had made, something was different.

I then poured my roommate a glass and he thought the same thing. Almost as if the flavor had gone away. I recorked it and figured I would give it another look over in the morning and then when I tried to open it the next day the cork broke off inside the bottle.

I thought I had read before that you do not want your whiskey stored touching the cork because it will eat away at the cork and change the taste of the whiskey, so maybe that is what happened. But all I know is there was some issue with the cork/seal on this bottle and the flavor was definitely not normal.

p_elliott
11-04-2012, 00:32
I know I am new here but this is a very interesting thread. I just wanted to add that I had picked up a bottle of wild turkey 101 at the store the other day for my usually mixing with pepsi. I noticed the bottle had a dried line around the plastic when I took it off and that the paper seal that covers the top/cork was a different color. My initial thought was that something had spilled on it so no big deal.

So I make a drink mixed and I can tell straight off the bat that it tasted different the a normal fresh opened bottle of WT101. I went back to the bottle and poured a straight glass and the smell was not "normal" either. I tasted it and came to the same conclusion as the mixed drink that I had made, something was different.

I then poured my roommate a glass and he thought the same thing. Almost as if the flavor had gone away. I recorked it and figured I would give it another look over in the morning and then when I tried to open it the next day the cork broke off inside the bottle.

I thought I had read before that you do not want your whiskey stored touching the cork because it will eat away at the cork and change the taste of the whiskey, so maybe that is what happened. But all I know is there was some issue with the cork/seal on this bottle and the flavor was definitely not normal.

Contact WT they will replace it if there is something wrong with it.

skidfive
11-04-2012, 09:57
Contact WT they will replace it if there is something wrong with it.

thanks for the info. Luckily Vons took it back and even swapped out. Just showed them the dried ring on the bottle and the discoloration.

msong
11-05-2012, 15:13
http://vinturi.com/products/spirit.html

Apparently someone else is buying into the conspiracy theory. New Spirits version...

p_elliott
11-07-2012, 08:55
thanks for the info. Luckily Von's took it back and even swapped out. Just showed them the dried ring on the bottle and the discoloration.

I hope Von's sent it back to WT as they surely would like to know what went wrong with it.

skidfive
11-07-2012, 10:07
I hope Von's sent it back to WT as they surely would like to know what went wrong with it.

Hopefully, since then I have been 2-0 on recent Turkeys though. Might have just been one out of a million issue or something with the cork/seal.

Restaurant man
11-11-2012, 22:28
http://vinturi.com/products/spirit.html

Apparently someone else is buying into the conspiracy theory. New Spirits version...

Just what I've always NEEDED. A vodka aerator, and just in time for christmas This this is just plain stupid. (no offense to those that believe) it's just my opinion.

LostBottle
11-11-2012, 23:01
http://vinturi.com/products/spirit.html

Apparently someone else is buying into the conspiracy theory. New Spirits version...

The perfect add-on to go with my Buffalo Trace 159x distilled Clix Vodka! The aeration will really help enhance the taste of nothing. Keep it away from my ultra-aged ryes though, I lean the other way and use argon on those.

tanstaafl2
11-12-2012, 08:05
Just what I've always NEEDED. A vodka aerator, and just in time for christmas This this is just plain stupid. (no offense to those that believe) it's just my opinion.

Is it the aerator that is stupid or the vodka?

Or both...

:slappin:

Got my brother, the family vodka drinker, a bottle of Double Cross vodka (http://doublecrossvodka.com/) (Distilled 7 times so it has that going for it! I had never heard of it, new vodka from Slovakia trying to compete with the big boys as a "premium" vodka) because it has a unique rectangular bottle and cap shape that allows the cap to be engraved. They were doing a special with free engraving so I put his name on it and underneath engraved "Real Men Drink Whiskey!".

Think I should get him the aerator as well?

:cool:

luther.r
12-13-2012, 20:41
I was placing a TPS order recently so I got a few bottles of their single barrel OWA. I decided tonight to do an experiment on air time.

I poured half of one out into another bottle and marked it, and I'm storing it side by side next to a full one (from the same barrel) in the same place at room temperature. I plan on opening the half-opened one every few days for a few seconds and agitating it a bit. In 4-5 weeks I'll do a tasting of the full, sealed bottle and the half bottle and see the results. If Anybody in the Chicago area would like to join me, more taste buds would make this more scientific!
14551

squire
12-13-2012, 21:12
Air exposure does change a whisky. I can't quantify that in any scientific sense but after a few decades of pulling corks you notice a few things. For example, a bottle with a less than air tight cork stoppage will subtly shift it's flavor profile if you keep it around long enough. My solution is to drink it before it evaporates.

Curtisc84
12-13-2012, 23:24
It does indeed take a lot of will power! Since I have very little I suppose it is why I was hoping to perhaps move the process along with something like a venturi.

Sounds like perhaps some things just need to develop in their own time!

You can always fill your hot-tub with whiskey, multiple pleasures.

tanstaafl2
12-14-2012, 10:18
You can always fill your hot-tub with whiskey, multiple pleasures.

Hmm, mucosal membranes and alcohol. if you think your mouth burns when drinking you may not want to think about what else might burn in a hot tub full of booze...

Not sure there would be much pleasure to be had there unless you have an affinity for the masochistic side!

squire
12-14-2012, 11:11
Also be mindful of the evaporation process, some loosely fitted bottles will show a decreased fill level in just a couple of weeks . . . at least that's what you tell the wife.

luther.r
01-20-2013, 18:17
I was placing a TPS order recently so I got a few bottles of their single barrel OWA. I decided tonight to do an experiment on air time.

I poured half of one out into another bottle and marked it, and I'm storing it side by side next to a full one (from the same barrel) in the same place at room temperature. I plan on opening the half-opened one every few days for a few seconds and agitating it a bit. In 4-5 weeks I'll do a tasting of the full, sealed bottle and the half bottle and see the results. If Anybody in the Chicago area would like to join me, more taste buds would make this more scientific!
14551

Follow up on my experiment:

I continued to open the half-filled bottle for a few seconds and agitate it about once a week. On this past Friday, my GF and I did a blind taste test. We opened the bottles (one of them for the first time) and each poured for the other one in two identical glasses (mine were Glencairns, hers snifters) with a mark on one glass so we could differentiate.

On the nose, glass 1 showed slightly more wood and alcohol and glass 2 was pure caramel/butterscotch.

On the palate, glass 1 showed more floral and fruity notes, and a bit more wood. Glass 2 was less lively, but with slightly rounder body, and showed less proof.

On the finish, glass 1 was spicier and longer, with some burn. Glass 2 was medium and mellow.

Glass 1 = no air time
Glass 2 = ~5 weeks air time

Overall, the two were very very similar. I found no evidence of the bottle with air time "opening up" or developing new flavors; I feel it just lost some bite and some of the fruitiness, which made the mellower characteristics come through more evidently.

Both of us were able to correctly guess which bottle was the one that had been open longer, but neither of them stood out as significantly "better" than the other.

SFS
01-20-2013, 19:06
Nicely done, luther, a well controlled experiment. Do you plan to continue it in the coming weeks? If so, at what time intervals?

luther.r
01-20-2013, 19:10
Nicely done, luther, a well controlled experiment. Do you plan to continue it in the coming weeks? If so, at what time intervals?

Well, now that the second bottle has been open I think the experiment would be tainted, as both bottles will be getting air. Though I suppose there could be merit in seeing how a 10-week open bottle compares to a 5-week etc.

HP12
01-20-2013, 19:36
Atta boy Luther. Good report out.

UncleJohnsBarrel
01-20-2013, 19:37
Thanks for the update on that, it was really interesting to read the results you came up with. My experience with the Weller line has been the same in regards to the nose, in that bottles that have been open always smell like a bowl of brown sugar oatmeal when you sniff it but does come up a little short when you actually drink it.

Keep the experiment results coming!

mosugoji64
01-21-2013, 07:46
Thanks for the report, Luther! That's surprising to me as I frequently return to bottles and find that time has changed them, usually for the better. Maybe that has as much to do with expectations for a new bottle as actual change. Expectations may relax a bit after the bottle has spent some time on the shelf. Whatever the case, blind tasting is truly the only way to put assumptions to rest and you put together a solid test. Thanks again!

squire
01-21-2013, 11:11
Interesting and perhaps telling, or perhaps posing another question. Is the whisky opening up to me or am I just getting used to a new brand.

HP12
01-21-2013, 12:52
Interesting and perhaps telling, or perhaps posing another question. Is the whisky opening up to me or am I just getting used to a new brand.

It opens up for me, at least most wheaters do. Have nosed and tasted definitive differences in several of my OWA's, Willett's and VW expressions to name a few. Along with another Bourbon enthusiast, a recent three sample tasting of our K&L Willett 21yo over the course of 5 month intervals revealed a change for the better.

After a couple months of air time, the viscosity became thicker, the caramels and dark fruit came out more vibrant than with the initial opening. The third sample at the five month mark revealed not much change from the second sampling at about the 2 month mark.

zillah
01-22-2013, 09:08
From my experience, although one will differ from one another, that after significant time of aeration either in the glass or the bottle a whiskey's nose begins to soften to more toasted, woody, vanilla like flavors.

Restaurant man
01-22-2013, 09:13
Follow up on my experiment:

I continued to open the half-filled bottle for a few seconds and agitate it about once a week. On this past Friday, my GF and I did a blind taste test. We opened the bottles (one of them for the first time) and each poured for the other one in two identical glasses (mine were Glencairns, hers snifters) with a mark on one glass so we could differentiate.

On the nose, glass 1 showed slightly more wood and alcohol and glass 2 was pure caramel/butterscotch.

On the palate, glass 1 showed more floral and fruity notes, and a bit more wood. Glass 2 was less lively, but with slightly rounder body, and showed less proof.

On the finish, glass 1 was spicier and longer, with some burn. Glass 2 was medium and mellow.

Glass 1 = no air time
Glass 2 = ~5 weeks air time

Overall, the two were very very similar. I found no evidence of the bottle with air time "opening up" or developing new flavors; I feel it just lost some bite and some of the fruitiness, which made the mellower characteristics come through more evidently.

Both of us were able to correctly guess which bottle was the one that had been open longer, but neither of them stood out as significantly "better" than the other.

thanks for the experiemnt. i must ask if your palete was clean or if you "warmed it up" with a taste of some whiskey in advance. otherwise i would expect whiskey 1 to have a burn to it. first taste is always a little harsher as your palete gets used to it.

luther.r
01-22-2013, 17:46
thanks for the experiemnt. i must ask if your palete was clean or if you "warmed it up" with a taste of some whiskey in advance. otherwise i would expect whiskey 1 to have a burn to it. first taste is always a little harsher as your palete gets used to it.
I'd had one small glass of 4R before I started the experiment. I also went back and forth several times between the two, with water in between.


I should note that I don't think my experiment is definitive by any means; I hope others will try something similar and report back!