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  1. #1
    Taster
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Spokane, WA
    Posts
    93

    Q. on Consistency

    Hi folks.

    I am wondering if any of you have ever purchased a bottle of your favorite bourbon, and discovered it to be something other than what you were expecting. Does this happen often? Does it ever happen at all?

    The reason I ask, naturally, is because I recently bought a bottle of one my favorite labels, and for some reason, the taste that I am accustomed to just didn't seem to be there. I don't want to mention the brand until I sort out whether this is me, or the whiskey. I did not have a cold, or anything else wrong with me that I knew about, so I don't see how it could be me. But then, I can't believe that my relatively unsophisticated palate can tell a difference between different bottlings of the same stuff. Yet, all the way through the bottle, I had this distinct sense of "something's missing."

    So, I just want to get some feedback from you people. Does anybody here know what I'm talking about?


  2. #2
    Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Burlington VT, USA
    Posts
    336

    Re: Q. on Consistency

    While I'm rather a newbie, my understanding is that some bottlings differ more than others, but all can differ to some extent. If it really tastes BAD, then you may be able to contact the distiller and try to work something out. Otherwise, it may just have been a batch that was slightly different.

    Also, while you didn't have a cold, the way that a particular spirit tastes can differ based on whatever else you've eaten that day, your frame of mind, even the weather.

    Try a few more pour on different days and see if the taste you're looking for comes back.

  3. #3
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Birmingham, AL
    Posts
    540

    Re: Q. on Consistency

    Sometimes bottlings aren't as consistent as you'd hope, but most often than not, it may be your own buds having a bad day, something funky in the glass, different shapes of glasses, etc. Could be somebody drank all your good whiskey and put in Yellowstone instead.

  4. #4
    Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Burlington VT, USA
    Posts
    336

    Re: Q. on Consistency

    Sometimes bottlings aren't as consistent as you'd hope, but most often than not, it may be... something funky in the glass...
    I have a friend who swears that washing your glasses with dishsoap will cause the whiskey to taste differently, even if you rinse them really well. He will only rinse the glasses with water.

  5. #5
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    621

    Re: Q. on Consistency

    I have a friend who swears that washing your glasses with dishsoap will cause the whiskey to taste differently, even if you rinse them really well.
    That must be a carryover from beer drinking--many beer fanatics use no soap on their glassware because it interferes with the "head" formation.

  6. #6

    Re: Q. on Consistency

    I won't use soap with my wine or bourbon glassware either. However, I find that a very weak solution with bleach (10:1 or more of water:bleach) to be very effective, and leaving no spots. The chlorine from the bleach evaporates just like it does from tap water left standing on the counter overnight.

  7. #7
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Seattle, USA
    Posts
    239

    Re: Q. on Consistency

    No soap here either. Just really hot water. I figure the high alcohol of my beverage will kill anything worth worrying about.

  8. #8
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    182

    Re: Q. on Consistency


    I have a friend who swears that washing your glasses with dishsoap will cause the whiskey to taste differently, even if you rinse them really well. He will only rinse the glasses with water.
    Well, I'm a chemistry professor with many years of experience cleaning glassware REALLY clean and I have no problem with using either detergent or soap to clean my home whisk(e)y glassware. After using detergent, I just rinse the holy $#@%^ out of the glasses and there is no problem. With really clean glassware, including also "lead crystal" glassware, water will sheet off the glass surface from top to bottom, without even one single drop staying behind. If anything stays behind, the glass is not clean. Checking for traces of soap in a closable container is also easy: just put distilled water in, close the container and shake it up. Persistant bubbles means there is a surfactant present, because pure water does not have persistant bubbles (the surface tension is too high). Cheers, Ed

  9. #9
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    8,980

    Re: Q. on Consistency

    Ed, do you know if glass and ceramic (jug-type) containers are permeable to air, I mean through the glass or ceramic walls? Even if the process was very slow, could this explain perhaps off-flavor in some whiskey, i.e., from oxidation? I have heard that PET bottles (the semi-rigid plastic containers used to hold soft drinks and sometimes beer) are permeable in the sense that CO2 can exit from the bottle even though liquid won't leak out. Of course air can get in through or around the closure (whatever type it is) but I wonder if the sidewalls and base of bottles are as airtight as is often thought. Thanks for any thoughts, or from other posters.

    Gary

  10. #10
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    182

    Re: Q. on Consistency

    Gary, I don't have a table of permeabilities handy, but glass has extremely low permeability to oxygen molecules and also to carbon dioxide molecules, which I assume are the two most undesirable components of air in so far as keeping them out of the bottled wkiskey is concerned. I can't believe that the glass walls of a whiskey bottle can cause any problem at all. Ceramics may be a different matter: depends on how porous the ceramic is and how well sealed its surfaces are. But I doubt it's much of a player.
    The closures, in my opinion, are the main problem, and corks, as nice as they are (making the "clooping" sound with you pull them out of bottles) are especially bad in this regard (but I like them anyway). Even if they have no TCA (2,4,6 trichloranisole) contamination to foul the bottle's contents, they are much more permeable than glass or a ceramic with a smooth glazed surface, and they do not always stay tight in the bottle, which really opens up possibilities for exchange with the environment (and outright leaking, evaporation, etc.).
    Sample bottles that folks decant into may also cause problems. For example, you can get nice small (35 mL) sample bottles in polycarbonate, with tight-fitting screw caps. These are good for sending samples to friends so more folks get to taste whiskeys they will never see in their distribution area. But keeping the whiskey in those little bottles for extended periods (months) is not a great idea because there may be leaching of residual plasticizer from the bottle into the contents. I doubt gas permeability is a problem, even with thin-walled plastics, but maybe so: depends on the plastic, wall thickness, etc. Certainly, bottlers can select plastic bottles that meet their needs for their products and put expiration dates on the bottles. I just checked a bottle of Poland Spring water and it has a code on it that says "BEST BY060506 L11", so I assume after that it would be drinkable, but maybe "plastic" tasting. Cheers, Ed

 

 

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