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  1. #1
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    Do decanters improve flavor?

    Unlike wine, bourbon does not continue aging once it is bottled. Even so, several SBers have noted changes in opened bottles of bourbon that have sat untouched for a while. And several of you have mentioned that you decant your bourbon. Question: Is the use of decanters a matter of presentation (in old movies, gentlemen always serve their booze from decanters) or do you find that decanting actually enhances the bourbon? Furthermore, is the effect is any way different from just leaving the opened bourbon in its original bottle?
    If God made anything better than bourbon he must have kept it for Hisself.

  2. #2

    Re: Do decanters improve flavor?

    Decant your bourbon if you hate life, yourself and whiskey.

    Unless your decanter has some amazing seal on it (most are those stupid glass ones with a simple all-glass, loose fitting lid), the alcohol will evaporate. And quickly.

    What happens to alcohol that has had the alcohol evaporate out? You're left with this extremely mild, flavorless, brown liquid that is not fit to water your plants.

    Does it appear I have an opinion on the matter?

    I'm sure there are decanters out there that are great. But it would require some form of rubber or plastic seal that would completely bar oxygen from getting in. Those decorative things you see in the movies? Props in every sense of the word.

  3. #3
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    Re: Do decanters improve flavor?

    If you want the bourbon to change, let the bottle sit sealed for a few weeks. You can force this by pouring half into another container. The introduced air in the bottle will affect the bourbon, but will avoid noticable evaporation of alcohol.

    On the contrary, if you don't want your bourbon to change and it is half-full, consider putting some (clean) glass marbles into the bottle to displace any air in the bottle.

  4. #4
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    Exclamation Re: Do decanters improve flavor?

    Also, if you use a leaded crystal decanter, lead will leach into the whiskey over time. It is ok to use leaded crystal for serving, as long as you put it back into glass when you are done. Just don't store whiskey (or anything else) in leaded crystal.

    Tim
    Self-Styled Whisky Connoisseur

  5. #5
    Disciple
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    Re: Do decanters improve flavor?

    I have two bourbons on my bar in decanters - Maker's Mark and Bulleit. They are the two bourbons that got me back into whiskey, and the decanters that I use were my grandfather's that I received after he died. I don't drink out of them often, but I enjoy having them and I think they look good on my bar set (and of course there is some sentimental value).

    With that said, I won't put my PVW, BTAC, PHC, etc in decanters.
    Jack
    GBS Member #3 (Sorry Dawn!)
    Quote Originally Posted by Pieface
    I think i'm god but I'll get a confirmation and go from there

  6. #6
    Taster
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    Re: Do decanters improve flavor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bourbon Boiler View Post
    If you want the bourbon to change, let the bottle sit sealed for a few weeks. You can force this by pouring half into another container. The introduced air in the bottle will affect the bourbon, but will avoid noticable evaporation of alcohol.

    On the contrary, if you don't want your bourbon to change and it is half-full, consider putting some (clean) glass marbles into the bottle to displace any air in the bottle.

    I remember a blurb about how John Hansell stores his open bottles. In short he states that he used Private Preserve (a gas that sits on top of the liquid and prevents contact with air) on his open bottles. He went further to say that once the bottle hits 1/4 full he recommends drinking it relatively quickly. He stated that has never had an issue regarding storage since adopting this method.

    FWIW this has works well for me as well.

    I would think that the gas would help with storing in a decanter as well.

  7. #7
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    Re: Do decanters improve flavor?

    Quote Originally Posted by DreamTheater View Post
    What happens to alcohol that has had the alcohol evaporate out? You're left with this extremely mild, flavorless, brown liquid that is not fit to water your plants.
    Amen to that. I poured a bit of Four Roses Single Barrel four or five nights ago but left a good two ounces or so in the glass after deciding it was time to sleep. Left the Glencairn out uncovered since then. What had been translucent, beautiful whiskey is now dank and somewhat opaque, and the taste has gone away with the evaporation of about a third of the contents.
    Last edited by stevegoz; 11-15-2011 at 17:12.

  8. #8

    Re: Do decanters improve flavor?

    Yes. Some people maintain that decanters do not have a negative effect or that you can leave whiskey out for a long time or half a dozen other things. I do not know what they are talking about.

    The proper way to store whiskey is in its original bottle, standing up (do not let it rest against the cork), in a moderate temperature room. Oh, and most certainly not close to any heat source or the sun obviously. Pretty common sense.

  9. #9
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    Re: Do decanters improve flavor?

    Quote Originally Posted by DreamTheater View Post
    Yes. Some people maintain that decanters do not have a negative effect or that you can leave whiskey out for a long time or half a dozen other things. I do not know what they are talking about.

    The proper way to store whiskey is in its original bottle, standing up (do not let it rest against the cork), in a moderate temperature room. Oh, and most certainly not close to any heat source or the sun obviously. Pretty common sense.
    You speak as if you are the resident expert with your 31 posts, good for you. Those of us that use decanters regularly and have for 10 + years might beg to differ with you. In my opinion decanters are meant for your everyday drinker, possibly that comes in a big ass 175 ml bottle that does not look proper out on display. As for evaporation, since it is an "everyday" drinking bourbon, one does not have to worry with losing any content or flavor, as it is consumed in a timely manner. Just my 2 cents.

  10. #10
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    Re: Do decanters improve flavor?

    Quote Originally Posted by GreggJ View Post
    I remember a blurb about how John Hansell stores his open bottles. In short he states that he used Private Preserve (a gas that sits on top of the liquid and prevents contact with air) on his open bottles. He went further to say that once the bottle hits 1/4 full he recommends drinking it relatively quickly. He stated that has never had an issue regarding storage since adopting this method.

    FWIW this has works well for me as well.

    I would think that the gas would help with storing in a decanter as well.
    ---> John and I do the sameó*we've exchanged many a note for many years [two decades] about keeping Bourbon... and Bourbon doesn't keep! Where did I hear that line before [Cowdery?!?]. Decanters are only good for drinking a large volume amongst company because it takes Bourbon up to a half hour to open, sometimes more. It also goes through different shifts in the bottle once opened depending on the volume of oxygen against the liquid. I've had bottles that took up to three months to open once I popped the cork. I've walked away from new bottles which I opened and poured one shot from, coming back six to nine months later to an absolute gem! Once opened and the bouquet evolves over time [peaks] it's all downhill. With wine preserver [nitro] you can keep a bottle indefinitely as long as the temperatures don't vary too much, every three to six months blast all the open bottles and it puts them in a holding pattern. If the bottle is more than half empty change it over to a split [half pint] and it will retain the current profile. Bourbon in the bottle once opened becomes oxidized over time. It takes maintenance. Decanting is a quick way to lose product fast. And you don't waste nitro in a decanter, they're made to use in a sitting. For Bourbon they're a waste of time. Better to pop an existing bottle that has been "airing" for a period of time. BB

 

 

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