View Full Version : Question About Partially Full (or empty) Bottles

04-27-2013, 14:24
Ok, so forgive me if this is a stupid question but I thought I would ask it anyway. I recently bought 375 ml bottles of WT101, Bulliet Frontier Whiskey and JBB and I have has 2 shots of each, so there is somewhere around 285 mls left in each bottle. My first question is: If I don't touch these bottles for awhile (say, 6 months to a year) will they still be "good"? And my other question is, if I want to nose them every once in awhile, will they go "bad" pretty fast? Is it a good idea to just leave them closed until the next time I drink from them? I know we are not talking about Pappy 23 or anything like that but I would prefer to know what to expect. Thanks for the help!

04-27-2013, 15:57
The short answer is probably not; the long answer is "what do you think?". Which is to say, that's really controversial and subjective. Which is to say, that's not a stupid question but rather may be impossible to answer. Answering it involves 2 parts science and 11 parts witch doctor craft.

My take: In the abstract, I am convinced that air time probably has little or no effect on most bourbons unless maybe you were to A.) have a lot of air (say 2/3 air) in the bottle AND B.) open it frequently. But sometimes the I open a 4/5 full bottle for my third drink from it and it seems to taste very different from that point onward. Actually, this has happened in the case of the last two bottles I have opened: Fighting Cock and Weller SR. But, as these two bottles have demonstrated for me, that change in flavor isn't necessarily the same as "going bad". I think that the Weller, like other Wellers I have had in the past, actually improved with air time.

04-27-2013, 17:44
It might change.
If it does, you might notice a difference.
If you do, you might like it more.

04-27-2013, 19:54
I personally find that WT101 just won't change - it's a rock (but your perception of it may change - I thought it was hot at first, now I think it's just right). JBB changes for the better and the worse, depends on where you catch it. Bulleit just gets worse, but not so much.

04-28-2013, 12:59
Qi whisky is very stable stuff and leaving a bottle for six months or so after it's been opened will not cause it to go bad or anything, actually some members seem to prefer their whisky get some air time. I've had a few bottles remain half full or so for several years with no problem.

04-29-2013, 09:22
I personally find that WT101 just won't change - it's a rock (but your perception of it may change - I thought it was hot at first, now I think it's just right). JBB changes for the better and the worse, depends on where you catch it. Bulleit just gets worse, but not so much.
My perception has changed three times within a week. First it was OK. Then meh. Then better than OK. Will try it again today to see where we stand. So far, it is as if I bought three bourbons all in the same bottle. (Obviously it ain't the bourbon that is bipolar.)

black mamba
04-29-2013, 20:37
Fish, the way I count, that is TRIpolar . . . so far! :grin:

04-30-2013, 07:05
Most substances oxidize over time. With a properly sealed bottle that is mostly full you should have no problem. However, I learned the hard way a long time ago that saving a couple of drams of my favorite whiskey in a bottle is not a good idea. It will not oxidize nearly as quickly as beer but you will eventually notice an off flavor. Leading back to ... good beverages are made to be consumed.

VT Mike
04-30-2013, 09:31
It's a pretty interesting topic, but it is also pretty subjective. Our palates vary from day to day on a regular basis, and if you taste an open bottle six months or a year later you are relying on your memory of what it tasted like quite a while after the initial tasting. A few times over the years I've sprayed wine keeper gas (I think it's argon and nitrogen) into my open bottles. I've noticed some bottles improve with time after being open. Usually it's the ones that start off kind of hot then come into their own with time, Wild Turkey 101 Rye comes to mind. I've noticed others, like Basil Hayden, get worse. But I've never really had any whiskeys pick up off flavors, they just seem to lose flavor and go kind of flat.

Time and the amount of head space in the bottle are the big variables, but exposure to heat and light might contribute as well. Also, I think there are two different things at play here, oxidation and vaporization of the more volatile compounds.

I wrote about the subject with a Japanese whisky, comparing a bottle that had been open for at least 6 years with a recently opened one.
Unfortunately the bottles weren't purchased at the same time so I introduced another variable there, but it's still an interesting comparison.

05-01-2013, 09:45
My problem is evaporation, darndest thing, sometimes I think a house gremlin is getting into those bottles.

05-01-2013, 10:16
I doubt you'll see much in oxidation happening in 375ml bottles. It seems the affect on the whiskey would depend on surface area being exposed to air, and you're not going to be getting much of that in that size bottle. If you had a family size bottle with a shot or two left in it you'd be speeding that process along.

05-01-2013, 10:25
Sound advise gentlemen, let's empty those bottles.