PDA

View Full Version : Open Bottles



Brennan77
12-05-2005, 21:31
I'm new to bourbon and, man, already I'm starting to accumulate bottles on the shelf. My concern is open bottles. I'm enjoying tasting different bourbons, but is it safe to open the bottles and have them sit after initial opening, while I taste and enjoy a bit here and there? Are there cork issues I should be aware of? What's the general life span, if it is limited at all, that a bourbon will stay at its potential after opening?

BTW, so far I have a bottle of Elijah Craig 12, Eagle Rare 10, Russell's Reserve 101(an extra unopened bottle that I'm giving away for Christmas as well), and now a bottle of Elmer T Lee. That should last me a while, but I can't help but be pulled toward different bottles every time I visit the store. Christmas is coming up and there's a bottle of Rock Hill that looks really nice. Then again, that Stagg 141 is looking interesting as well.

Does it ever stop? Do you ever find the one or two pours that just do it for you? Or is this an unending and ever changing quest I've unwittingly undertaken.

barturtle
12-05-2005, 22:03
Many here seem to have different views on this. I personally feel that once a bottle gets below about half full it needs to be drank in 6 months or so. Though I have noticed a change in less than 6 months most seem to handle that time frame. I usually limit the number I have open to somewhere in the 3-5 range though periods where I'll have many guests(ie. this time of year) I will usually have a couple more open, knowing that they will be gone through in good time, but with the 3-5 limits I know they will be gone through without pushing that time frame. A mostly full well capped bottle should have little change for a long period of time, but even a well capped 1/4 full bottle seems(to me) to deteriorate at a rapid rate.



Does it ever stop? Do you ever find the one or two pours that just do it for you?



Yes, but they all seem to be out of production http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smilielol.gif



Are there cork issues I should be aware of?



Don't lay whiskey bottles with corks on their side, the whiskey will destroy the cork. Some here save the old corks in case they get a bad one in a bottle.

gr8erdane
12-05-2005, 22:25
There have been discussions on this topic before but I don't know where to find them quickly. I can tell you that I don't have any fear of opening bottles and most of my fairly large collection are open. A practice I learned from BobbyC was to occasionally turn the bottle up to moisten the cork. Not sure how much it helps but I coincide this activity with my shelf dusting. It doesn't keep the cork in contact with the bourbon yet possibly keeps the cork from completely drying out. I have yet to experience any problems in oxidation either.

kbuzbee
12-06-2005, 08:46
I agree with Timothy, I try to limit the number I have open (but it's hard!). Right now I have GT Stagg, Kentucky Spirit, Rare Breed, Bufflao Trace, Elmer T Lee, JTS Brown and Maker's open (well, okay, AND 1 Canadian, 2 Tequilas, 3 Scotchs, 2 Rums, 3 Irish and probably 6 odd bottles (Chartreuse, Tuaoca and such)). I also have 20 different bottles in the pantry that are not open, but will be as I finish off these and get a taste for one of them.

BTW - Here is one of the threads Dane was talking about:

Storing Whiskey (http://www.straightbourbon.comhttp://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showflat.php?Cat=&Board=General&Number=46479&Searchpage=3&Main=46452&Words=open+bottles&topic=&Search=true#Post46479)

I do notice a change in most Bourbons once they are open. Often that's a positive change but, like Timothy, once a bottle gets to 1/3 or so I try to limit it's shelf life http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif. Not usually a problem if I keep the totals low. Many folks here have 100s of open bottles. They like so many different things. I enjoy different pours regularly but the vast majority of things I drink are some form of Wild Turkey. I finish a bottle of Kentucky Spirit every week. It has everything I really want from a Bourbon. This goes to your second point. You may enjoy this recent thread where I asked folks if they had to live with only one Bourbon, what would it be? There were some great thoughts:

What if you could buy only one? (http://www.straightbourbon.comhttp://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/50766/page//fpart/1/vc/1)

Ken

Rughi
12-06-2005, 09:00
Many of the nearly empty bottles I have are being held onto just in case I ever want to compare them to another bottle. This is especially so with special editions and single barrels, where variation is part of the charm.

I've taken to using 4oz. sample bottles that I get from the winemaking supply store to hold onto that last bit, yet avoid oxidization. It also looks so scientific and suitable for rigorous study.

The only problem is that a couple odd drams here and there, and the 4oz. bottle starts to look kinda low, too.

Roger

Brennan77
12-06-2005, 09:17
Rughi, interesting method there. Looks like a pharmacy, and I guess in some ways it is. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif At least you don't direct inject it.

Thanks for the comments. It appears that my having 3 bottles open is really no big deal at all then. Temporarily living in California, in exile since Hurricane Katrina, we've been doing a lot of wine tasting. Wine is so sensitive to air that it got me questioning my bourbon storage.

Now to more pressing matters...Is that George T Stagg a must buy at $46? http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif

jburlowski
12-06-2005, 10:26
Yes.. go with the GTS, particularly if you haven't had the opportunity to try it.

This spirit has taken on almost mythical proportions amongst whiskey (and particularly boubon) drinkers. My reacion is that it ranges from great (the earlier, pre 2005 versions) to very good (the Spring and Fall 2005 versions.)

Since these are very high proof bourbons, I recommend that you try them both straight and diluted with water to about 90-100 proof to get a full appreciation of a very nice pour.

Brennan77
12-06-2005, 10:40
Yes.. go with the GTS, particularly if you haven't had the opportunity to try it.

This spirit has taken on almost mythical proportions amongst whiskey (and particularly boubon) drinkers. My reacion is that it ranges from great (the earlier, pre 2005 versions) to very good (the Spring and Fall 2005 versions.)

Since these are very high proof bourbons, I recommend that you try them both straight and diluted with water to about 90-100 proof to get a full appreciation of a very nice pour.



I guess that's what I'm getting myself for Christmas then. We found three bottles of the 141.2 proof version at the store down the street. From what I can tell in my brief research, this is the 2003 version. The idea of uncut and unfiltered is almost romantic. This sounds like it will be a nice bottle to have around for special occasions.

jburlowski
12-06-2005, 12:09
At 141.2 proof, this sounds like the current (Fall '05) release. I believe the Fall 2003 release was at 142.7 proof.

In any case, enjoy! (And remember... no smoking near the open bottle!)

Brennan77
12-06-2005, 16:00
At 141.2 proof, this sounds like the current (Fall '05) release. I believe the Fall 2003 release was at 142.7 proof.

In any case, enjoy! (And remember... no smoking near the open bottle!)



Maybe so. I'm confused by the little reading I've done on these bottles from this forum. I thought the newer ones were much lower in proof.

gr8erdane
12-06-2005, 20:21
You were correct up to the current bottling. They seem to have found some higher octane barrels for this issue. What surprised me the first time I sampled the Fall 2005 was that it didn't SEEM any higher like the 2003 HazMat. Totally delicious and takes your breath away in a good way.