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Thread: Whiskey and Air

  1. #1
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    Whiskey and Air

    As bourbon and whiskey is discussed there is often discussion of airtime and how some bottles do better with a little time open (and some don't. Saz 18 perhaps which presumably has gotten lots of air sitting around in the tanks).

    I looked but air is a tough search term. Has there ever been any discussion on the potential value or aerating whiskey, especially if is just opened for example, as one might do with a red wine?

    I know that some feel whiskey does change with time once open due to oxidation, especially for a long time, and use nitrogen in bottles as discussed in this thread but I didn't know if there were times when air was a "good thing"!

    So how much effect might it have?
    That yella whiskey runnin' down my throat like honey dew vine water and I took another slash…

    Nullum Gratuitum Prandium
    Ne Illegitimi Carborundum

  2. #2
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    Re: Whiskey and Air

    It seems to depend on what whiskey it is. OWA for instance is just OK to me freshly opened. But dump half of it out into another bottle, and/or wait a few weeks, and you have something great! I also know a few guys who shake up a bottle after opening, before pouring, and after pouring to agitate and aerate the whiskey.
    "this hobby is supposed to be fun. When it stops being fun, check yourself, because you're doing it wrong." Charles Cowdery

  3. #3
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    Re: Whiskey and Air

    I am a HUGE advocate for air time. Some whiskeys only take a few minutes and some whiskeys take MONTHS. Air acts on the whiskey's surface and begins to oxidize it. This oxidation changes the flavor within the whiskey. It's akin to adding water just without cutting it or lowering it's proof.

    As previously mentioned OWA is improved fantastically by quite a bit of air time. Weller 12 was the same way for me. Also Lot B. So it seems wheaters really benefit the most. For me here are some of the others that tasted bunk upon opening but blossomed into incredible yumminess: CEHT Barrel Proof, 4R SB LE 2011, Woodford Reserve MC Maple Wood Finish, Willett 7yr, EWSB Vintage 2000, and Old Grandad 86 proof.

    It has also been discussed that Rye whiskey does NOT benefit much from air time and in fact has a tendency to wither quite rapidly. This has been discussed about Saz18 in specific.

    It would be nice to figure out what is it about wheated bourbons that blossom with air and Rye whiskey that withers with air.
    |-o-| [-o-] |-o-| "I'm on the leader"

  4. #4
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    Re: Whiskey and Air

    Call me a heretic or at least a skeptic...or maybe it's my lead tongue and urban air damaged nose...but it (air) and its effect on whiskey in a closed up bottle, is not something I've ever picked up on much, until you do get to oxidation (about 2 years). I've said it before...I'd love to see more blind tasting on the phenomena and remain a doubter till then. What about whiskey/whisky bars with extremely rare pours that can be had for the right money but from a bottle that has been opened for who knows how short or long and varying fill levels?
    Thad

    BTOTY-2011

  5. #5
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    Re: Whiskey and Air

    I, too, am a believer in air helping out whiskeys in general and wheaters in particular. Fortunately, I haven't had any that needed months. Usually a week or two. I have tried to accelerate the aeration effect by using a Vinturi like people use for wine, but it doesn't seem to help that first glass out of the bottle. Sometimes I just save an empty bottle and pour half a new bottle into the old and let them open up that way.

  6. #6
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    Re: Whiskey and Air

    Another HUGE fan of giving OWA and Weller 12 year some air time. I like to blend them in a half filled bottle, shake it up, and then 3 or more weeks later, and especially after 8 weeks, it's a whole new animal that could easily be sold as one of the premium Weller/VanWinkle variants. SO good. The change is not subtle, and it's entirely for the better. Very interesting that it's suggested that ryes don't benefit like wheaters do. I may have to test that theory here at home. My half drunk bottle of last years Pappy 15 is easily every bit as tasty now as when it was opened last fall. ORVW10/107, same deal.

    STLbourbon

  7. #7
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    Re: Whiskey and Air

    Definitely wheaters

    ive had mixed experiences with wheaters on day one, some are great and some are flat. Recently popped a bottle of Willett 20yr (SW) that was depressingly flat on day one. A few weeks later it has blossomed into some tremendous stuff.

  8. #8
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    Re: Whiskey and Air

    My thoughts on whiskey and air.....

    Well, you have to breathe, and you have to drink.

    Nuff Ced.
    " I never met a Weller I didn't like"

  9. #9
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    Re: Whiskey and Air

    In general I don't notice a huge difference in taste between a freshly opened bottle and one that has been opened for a while.

    Wheaters open up a little bit over time as previously mentioned.
    Old ryes (Saz 18, Vintage 21, VWFRR, etc) seem to lose a little bit of their rye bite.
    Everything else tastes the same over time.

  10. #10
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    Re: Whiskey and Air

    As many opinions as there are drinkers.

    For me, air will affect all types of Whiskey.

    Wheaters are helped the most by being opened for longer. The longer they're open, the more decadent they become. Rye-recipe will slightly improve. When it comes to Rye, I try to drink them quickly, as I feel they loose their edge.

    But as always, YMMV. The only way for you to know, is to experiment yourself.

 

 

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