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  1. #1
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    Why do bottles improve after opening?

    Help a bourbon beginner out. I have roughly 15 bottles open of various shelves. Now every bottle doesnt amaze me first pour, some are amazing from the seal cracking, but ALL bottles even those that are just boring at first seem to become intruiging and better every pour over the next month. Maybe Im just experiencing developing my nosing and tastes but it seems like a few weeks after cracking the seal the bourbon opens up. Several recent bottles I paid attention and saw tiny bubbles rising after breaking the seal that continue after corking for awhile, so inform me of the bottling process and why they get better. I know it happens just not why.
    Last edited by jmj_203; 04-27-2014 at 20:42.

  2. #2
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    Re: Why do bottles improve after opening?

    An important part of the aging process is the interaction with oxygen while in the barrel and once the whisky is bottled oxidation stops or at least dramatically slows down. When the bottle seal is broken and fresh oxygen introduced some Bourbons just seem to wake up. My theory anyway.
    We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.

  3. #3
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    Re: Why do bottles improve after opening?

    Quote Originally Posted by squire View Post
    An important part of the aging process is the interaction with oxygen while in the barrel and once the whisky is bottled oxidation stops or at least dramatically slows down. When the bottle seal is broken and fresh oxygen introduced some Bourbons just seem to wake up. My theory anyway.
    I think Squire has explained the physical changes in the bourbon. I think there are also changes in the bourbon drinker. Over time, I find that my palate makes adjustments to what I am drinking. A bottle of good bourbon always seems to taste its absolute best when it is nearly gone. The hard-to-replace or impossible to replace bourbon is even better still. As Yogi might say, 90% of drinking bourbon is half mental.
    If God made anything better than bourbon he must have kept it for Hisself.

  4. #4
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    Re: Why do bottles improve after opening?

    I definitely agree that bourbons change after opening, but not necessarily for the better. I generally prefer the more vibrant flavors that come out when a bourbon has had little air time. And some, in particular 4R products, seem to go downhill relatively quickly after being opened.

  5. #5
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    Re: Why do bottles improve after opening?

    Quote Originally Posted by squire View Post
    An important part of the aging process is the interaction with oxygen while in the barrel and once the whisky is bottled oxidation stops or at least dramatically slows down. When the bottle seal is broken and fresh oxygen introduced some Bourbons just seem to wake up. My theory anyway.
    Sounds like a good explanation to me. I assumed they are sealed almost air tight when bottled, so there is no air exchange until you break the seal. Just didn't understand how putting it in a state of stasis could change the flavor. So its kind of like when they are bottled, they go into hyper sleep for a few months or years, then when you crack it open it catches up real fast with some rapid accelerated aging. I just made that up, I'm going with it...

  6. #6
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    Re: Why do bottles improve after opening?

    If I open a bottle and take, say, a year or two to finish, it will change over time. Not a lot, sometimes noticeably, sometimes barely at all, but it's happened often enough to be a pattern. Some of our members prefer the changes.
    We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.

  7. #7
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    Re: Why do bottles improve after opening?

    Quote Originally Posted by Flyfish View Post
    I think there are also changes in the bourbon drinker.
    usually, I agree with this side of the argument.

    That said, whenever I buy an OGD114, I'll take the top off and leave it open to room air for days before having any. Thats the only bourbon Ive noticed changes in with air
    Think about how stupid the average person is.....then realize that half of them are more stupid than that.

  8. #8
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    Re: Why do bottles improve after opening?

    I have been finding that extra woody bourbons such as EC12 and Bulleit 10 do well being from being opened a few days before consuming, I usually open the bottle, pour two fingers as a sampler and put the bottle back.
    Its in essence the same theory as leaving a glass 5-10 minutes before driinking, I find I do this a lot with XO or older cognacs and armagnacs, and I wont drink from my stash of WT14yr tradition unless I have left the glass sit for a while, the difference is definitely worth the wait.

  9. #9
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    Re: Why do bottles improve after opening?

    Quote Originally Posted by 393foureyedfox View Post
    usually, I agree with this side of the argument.

    That said, whenever I buy an OGD114, I'll take the top off and leave it open to room air for days before having any. Thats the only bourbon Ive noticed changes in with air
    Open for days? I never would have though you could do this.

    Don't you flash off all of your high proof benefits that way?

    tbt

  10. #10
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    Re: Why do bottles improve after opening?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Black Tot View Post
    Open for days? I never would have though you could do this.

    Don't you flash off all of your high proof benefits that way?

    tbt
    I dont think so. the only part that is open to air directly is the small round circle at the top of the bottle neck. I find OGD114 to be rather harsh right out of a fresh bottle, but a little better and more enjoyable after being open a few days. This is the only bourbon I do this with, though.
    Think about how stupid the average person is.....then realize that half of them are more stupid than that.

 

 

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