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View Full Version : What is optimal temperature for Bourbon "Neat"



SippinJim
04-12-2008, 09:28
I have been thinking about this and was wondering if there is a recommended temp. for Bourbon when drinking it neat. Wines have recommended temps. I was figuring that Bourbon might be best at the same temp as red wines which is around the mid 50's F if I remember correctly.

Any thoughts?

NeoTexan
04-12-2008, 09:35
My defination of neat has always been, take it off the shelf, pour it in a glass, drink, repeat as required. So I guess room temp for me.

On the other hand, straight is the same except you shake with ice and strain.

Tennessee Dave
04-12-2008, 13:55
My defination of neat has always been, take it off the shelf, pour it in a glass, drink, repeat as required. So I guess room temp for me.

On the other hand, straight is the same except you shake with ice and strain.

Work for me as well

fogfrog
04-12-2008, 14:01
Room temp. I like a lot of things not too cold.

chilidawg7
04-12-2008, 14:02
i prefer mine at room temperature. however, a few summers ago when I visited Buffalo Trace, we were served chilled BT bourbon. Our guide explained that as the temperature gets colder, any imperfections start to show. The point was that the BT had no imperfections to speak of.

Since then, i have had a few pours chilled and enjoy them as a change of pace.

Dr. François
04-12-2008, 20:44
I tend to take a cue from my wine snob days..."room temperature" really means cellar temperature. Aside from a few really, really big wines, almost all red wines are best enjoyed somewhere in the high 50 to mid 60 degree spectrum, not at 72+ degrees. Wines above 68 degrees or so tend to get hot and unbalanced. I tend to find the same problem with bourbons, so I keep my bourbons at the bottom of my wine fridge, around 60 degrees.

I like to drink "brisk autumn," not "hot summer."

BourbonJoe
04-12-2008, 21:12
In my opinion, bourbons should be placed in brandy snifters and warmed somewhat like the French do with their Cognac. If you can't set it by a heat source just roll the snifter sround in your hands to pick up heat. This releases all the flavors to be smelled and tasted the "proper" way. Try it.
Joe :usflag:

jinenjo
04-12-2008, 21:19
I agree with Joe. Any whiskey that is warmed above "cellar temp." allows the nose and the palate to flourish. I've only tried bourbon on ice once. It was a really hot day in northern California. While it was satisfying, the nose practically disappeared and the taste was significantly muted.

I didn't know, however, that straight is different than neat. Thanks for that info!

Rughi
04-12-2008, 21:45
In my opinion, bourbons should be ... warmed somewhat...
Joe :usflag:
I find I agree with Joe on almost all matters of bourbon. This is yet another.
You go, Joe

Roger

Rughi
04-12-2008, 21:55
...when I visited Buffalo Trace, we were served chilled BT bourbon. Our guide explained that as the temperature gets colder, any imperfections start to show.

The same happened with me, and I felt everything that's special about BT was muted. Vodka is the spirit that's all about avoiding imperfections while bourbon is about reveling in big, bold things that are oh-so-right.

If that was my first taste of BT, I doubt I'd ever have bought it.

Roger

spun_cookie
04-12-2008, 23:27
I keep my bourbon in my wine celler... and I tend to like it near that 58-65 degrees neat

CorvallisCracker
04-13-2008, 10:23
I drink it at room temperature, which in our house is about 68 degrees.

I also drink it from a small wine glass, often a port glass.

What it comes down to is: what do you want to smell, the bourbon or alcohol?

The warmer the bourbon, the faster the rate of alcohol evaporation, and the more of that you're going to smell.

The larger the glass, the greater the surface are of liquid is exposed, and this will amplify the effects of temperature. Cupping a snifter in your hand will warm the liquid.

It's not true that everyone drinks cognac from snifters. Many feel that a small glass, with an inward curved rim, focuses the aroma of the brandy and allows the drinker to perceive subtle aromas that might otherwise be missed.

A quote from Dominic Park, a Scotsman who owns a small cognac operation (http://www.cognacpark.com) -

“The balloon glass naturally gives a large surface area to the drink with the result that you have too much alcohol coming off. Too much just deadens the nose and you can’t smell anything for a while. A shame when Cognac is more than anything a drink to be experienced on the nose. Swirling in a big glass exacerbates the phenomenon. It is also a very natural habit of balloon glass users to cup the bowl of the glass in a warm hand, again encouraging even more alcohol evaporation.”

Mamba
04-14-2008, 11:19
In my opinion, bourbons should be placed in brandy snifters and warmed somewhat like the French do with their Cognac. If you can't set it by a heat source just roll the snifter sround in your hands to pick up heat. This releases all the flavors to be smelled and tasted the "proper" way. Try it.
Joe :usflag:

Every time I've done this I thought it completely ruined the spirit. I can't ever see what's so "proper" about it.

I like bourbon on the cold side (basement/cellar temp). In the middle of winter it tastes the best, since my bunker (i.e. closet) isn't heated. As a rule, I keep my hands on the stem and AWAY from the bowl so that the whiskey does not get warmer.

I guess there's no wrong way... long as it works for you!

TomH
04-14-2008, 15:31
I don't think there's a bad way to drink good bourbon, but I think I have a slight preference to slightly chillled. Didn't really think much about the question, but last night (after reading some of this thread) I was drinking Pappy 15 while relaxing in the hot tub. Since the temps were chilly last night, which but a slight chill on the bourbon. It seemed that the chill took away most of the alcohol heat and the taste of the bourbon was really up front.

Tom

ILLfarmboy
04-17-2008, 12:56
Room temp. I keep my house at a constant 67 year round. In my opinion cellar temp, especialy the cooler end of the spectrum, is too cool to enjoy the complex aromas and tastes.

Above 72 degrees and the alcohol vapors can obtrude.

chilidawg7
04-17-2008, 13:03
I am jealous of all of you guys who keep your house at or below 72. In Florida, if I tried that, it would cost me a fortune! :)

MiamiG
04-17-2008, 13:23
I enjoy drinking bourbon on the cooler side. I store my open bottles in my commercial cigar humidor that is kept between 67-68 degrees year round. I have found this to be the optimum enjoyable temperature for me. I prefer pouring into a large bowl, tulip style snifter.

squire
04-21-2008, 21:56
I drink it anyway the mood strikes.

boss302
04-23-2008, 22:47
I agree with Joe. Any whiskey that is warmed above "cellar temp." allows the nose and the palate to flourish. I've only tried bourbon on ice once. It was a really hot day in northern California. While it was satisfying, the nose practically disappeared and the taste was significantly muted.

I didn't know, however, that straight is different than neat. Thanks for that info!


Actually, this is part of the reason why my drinking habits change with the seasons. I don't drink bourbon on a hot day, because I will want something cool. So I usually drink gin in the peak of summer, because gin works well with just a couple of clean ice cubes.

I drink lighter whiskies, like Scotch and Irish, in the spring and fall. More robust spirits, like bourbons, dark rums, and brandies, I usually reserve for the winter, especially since I usually don't turn on the heat much. Thus, my spirits are slightly cool, usually in the 60's, and my natural gas bill stays low. My heritage is northern German, so cool temperatures don't really bother me! :cool:

I will advise against warming your bourbon too much-- if the spirit gets too warm, it will release greater quantities of alcohol vapors, making it far too challenging to nose. At least, that's my experience...

Huegeb
04-24-2008, 07:58
Actually, this is part of the reason why my drinking habits change with the seasons. I don't drink bourbon on a hot day, because I will want something cool. So I usually drink gin in the peak of summer, because gin works well with just a couple of clean ice cubes.

I drink lighter whiskies, like Scotch and Irish, in the spring and fall. More robust spirits, like bourbons, dark rums, and brandies, I usually reserve for the winter, especially since I usually don't turn on the heat much. Thus, my spirits are slightly cool, usually in the 60's, and my natural gas bill stays low. My heritage is northern German, so cool temperatures don't really bother me! :cool:

I will advise against warming your bourbon too much-- if the spirit gets too warm, it will release greater quantities of alcohol vapors, making it far too challenging to nose. At least, that's my experience...


Hello Boss,

If you do not mind my inquisition, where in Northern Germany are you from? Did you grow up in DE or would that be where family roots are?

Kindest,

Geb

boss302
04-30-2008, 16:07
Hello Boss,

If you do not mind my inquisition, where in Northern Germany are you from? Did you grow up in DE or would that be where family roots are?

Kindest,

Geb

Hello, Geb.

I am not from Deutschland. My ancestors migrated to Pennsylvania from Germany in the mid-1700's. Some came from Bremen, some from the Schwarzwald, but the ancestor of my last name came from Alsace, which was part of Germany at the time. In fact, the village where my primary ancestor came from still speaks German, despite the fact that it is now part of France.

I would like to go to DE some time, especially during Octoberfest!