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Thread: Let's Open Up

  1. #1
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    Let's Open Up

    It seems time and time again I open a new bottle and I'm a little disappointed with that first pour. It's really got me thinking about the effects of air and water on bourbon. I'd like to get some opinions on how others dial in that first pour let alone any pour.

    Do you pour a glass and wait a certain amount of time?

    Are a few drops of water critical regardless of proof?

    What are some of the rituals out there to get a pour just right?

  2. #2
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    Re: Let's Open Up

    Quote Originally Posted by spinningrecords View Post
    Do you pour a glass and wait a certain amount of time?

    Are a few drops of water critical regardless of proof?

    What are some of the rituals out there to get a pour just right?
    I usually allow a glass from a newly opened bottle some time to breathe. If it's a wheater, I generally expect to need to wait several weeks for the bourbon to really open up after being exposed to some O2.

    If it's not barrel proof I don't add water. Not by rule, but that's just how it's worked out. One distillery that I've almost never had to add water to their bourbon is Four Roses. FR is generally exceptional at barrel proof. Stagg, WLW, and some Willetts require water for me to hit the sweet spot.

    When I find that sweet spot in a bourbon that needs water, I usually will dilute down a batch of the bourbon to the proof I enjoy it at in a smaller bottle and let it sit for awhile before going for a pour. It's just not the same when it's diluted down in the glass... it doesn't taste quite right. Maybe the bourbon and water need more time to mingle...
    Ryan

  3. #3
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    Cool Re: Let's Open Up

    Quote Originally Posted by spinningrecords View Post

    What are some of the rituals out there to get a pour just right?
    Honestly, I don't think I've ever thought about it this way. Occasionally, a straight pour may be harsh and I will add some water, but it was not a plan going in. On other occasions, I may just want a large pour on-the-rocks, so I just do it.

    Tim
    Self-Styled Whisky Connoisseur

  4. #4
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    Re: Let's Open Up

    Quote Originally Posted by spinningrecords View Post
    It seems time and time again I open a new bottle and I'm a little disappointed with that first pour. It's really got me thinking about the effects of air and water on bourbon. I'd like to get some opinions on how others dial in that first pour let alone any pour.

    Do you pour a glass and wait a certain amount of time?

    Are a few drops of water critical regardless of proof?

    What are some of the rituals out there to get a pour just right?
    I don't have a "set" ritual, and I personally don't think you can really ever set up rules that are constant. Like the whiskey, what you will do with it changes.

    Yes, in particular that first pour out of the bottle I will tend to let sit in the glass for 10-20 minutes. I do it other times as well, but again, it depends on what I am drinking, my mood, how powerful an alcohol smell I am getting, etc.

    I absolutely do NOT think that a drop of water is critical regardless of proof. Again, it really varies on the particular bourbon more than anything. For Example, I had some MM446 recently, and as I tend to do with new pours I am trying, I will go straight, with water, with ice and cold (chilled, no ice). The MM46 flavor absolutely wilted and disappeared with water. I will at times drink OWA neat and other times on ice, but I don't find the added water is critical, it is more about my mood.

    Yes, at least some time after opening the bottle seems to help most of the bourbons I have tried so far... though few have gotten more than a couple of weeks. But critical? I'm not so sure.

    If you are like me, the tendency to be disappointed with the first pour, especially of something you have not had before, is more about overexaggerated expectation and anticipation more than a problem with the bourbon. When you go back later with those expectations tempered a bit, you find it more enjoyable.

  5. #5
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    Re: Let's Open Up

    Quote Originally Posted by spinningrecords View Post
    It seems time and time again I open a new bottle and I'm a little disappointed with that first pour. It's really got me thinking about the effects of air and water on bourbon. I'd like to get some opinions on how others dial in that first pour let alone any pour.
    Drink it and pour another.

  6. #6
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    Re: Let's Open Up

    The search engine is your friend.

    http://www.straightbourbon.com/forum...hlight=breathe

  7. #7
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    Re: Let's Open Up

    I used to add six drops of water per ounce. I stopped due to laziness. I'll revert to this method if I try something new and I think it's too hot or if I think I'm missing something.

  8. #8
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    Re: Let's Open Up

    Quote Originally Posted by Bourbon Boiler View Post
    I used to add six drops of water per ounce. I stopped due to laziness. I'll revert to this method if I try something new and I think it's too hot or if I think I'm missing something.
    Thats more OCD than anything.

    Adding water to bourbon doesn't "open up" anything, it cuts the proof.

    It may lower the alcohol concentration and its numbing effect on your nose and palate, but there's nothing magical going on.

    Boubron already has water in it. Cutting the proof by adding a bit more doesn't create a reaction releasing additional good stuff that happens to be water soluble.
    My name is Joel Goodson. I deal in human fulfillment.
    I grossed over eight thousand dollars in one night. Time of your life, huh kid?

  9. #9
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    Re: Let's Open Up

    Quote Originally Posted by callmeox View Post
    Thats more OCD than anything.

    Adding water to bourbon doesn't "open up" anything, it cuts the proof.

    It may lower the alcohol concentration and its numbing effect on your nose and palate, but there's nothing magical going on.

    Boubron already has water in it. Cutting the proof by adding a bit more doesn't create a reaction releasing additional good stuff that happens to be water soluble.
    Your statement is correct, but you may be underestimating the effect of lowering the proof. Even on a proof in double digits, I can sometimes pick up a flavor more easily with a few drops of water. The pysch effect is after I identify it at lower proof, I can usually find it thereafter at bottle proof.

    Of course, with a really good bourbon this process isn't needed.

  10. #10
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    Re: Let's Open Up

    I'm not underestimating at all. Distillery professionals sample at very low proof to try to eliminate he effect of alcohol on the nose and palate.
    My name is Joel Goodson. I deal in human fulfillment.
    I grossed over eight thousand dollars in one night. Time of your life, huh kid?

 

 

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