I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.
When I see it on a shelf at the store.
We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.
As I mentioned earlier, I use private preserve on my nice bottles but I have no idea if it actually works or not. However, it's worth the cost for my piece of mind :-)
Until recently I had been hesitant to finish limited edition and bottles I don't have a backup because I find myself revisiting, sometimes years later, and finding that my palate and/or memory has changed and thus my opinion. A recommendation from ChainWhip led to a purchase of 2oz glass bottles from specialtybottles.com which solved that problem. I don't even wait for a bottle to get low, I open a fresh one and transfer 2oz, then I don't mind killing it. There will always be more good stuff out there and I don't mind evolving with the industry, I just want to maintain a glimpse of the past.
Now I look forward to an empty bottle because it opens up room for more.
Like a lot of you I am newer to this venture, so I get excited to try new stuff. I probably have close to 30 bottles open on my bar, and I keep my rotation pretty even through them all. I do have a couple of favorites that I have finished and replaced, but those are only a few. I have not been lucky enough to get my hands on any of the BTAC or PVW juice, so I don't reserve too much for special occasions. I tend to decide my initial pour based on bottle fullness, so they all stay close to the same level. Then my later pours I go to those favorites.
I have noticed recently that when I go back to something I have not had for awhile it tastes different than I remember. I have been pondering the same question MtnDew posed. Not sure if that is the bourbon/rye or my palate, but I am going to try Flyfish Challenge from another post to do a blind tasting of the same pours spaced out to see if it is my palate.
I really hadn't given this too much thought. I guess I do tend to bring some into a "more often poured" rotation once they hit about 20% full. But, I think it's because I want the shelf space as much as it is to finish it off.
Speaking of Bourbon changing over time; my experience (with the exception of one bottle of 4-R Sm.B.L.E.) I've never had one go noticeably downhill. I've had a few 'bad corks'; but even that didn't seem to spoil the Bourbon. I just decanted the liquid and it was fine. I will also say; one bottle I experienced the opposite... A bottle of Pappy-23 I was unimpressed with on the first few pours and, therefor left aside to impress friends, became wonderful after about a year on the shelf around 2/3 full. Go Figure.
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"A man comes from the dust and in the dust he will end-- In the meantime it is good to drink whiskey."