That is great news for all concerned. Did you meet him? Jerry is a great guy.
That is great news for all concerned. Did you meet him? Jerry is a great guy.
> That is great news for all concerned.
Why thank you! I thought it was pretty neat myself. I had no idea my wife was also contributing to the forum. She's pretty sharp for someone who doesn't really like bourbon (or any other form of canned corn for that matter), but has tried nearly all of them and can tell one from another as well as anyone I know.
Did you meet him? Jerry is a great guy.
Oh, you meant Jerry! No, I'm sorry to say we didn't meet him. We were given a special tour of the Clermont plant (by a Beam family member whose name I've sworn never to reveal) and he told us that Jerry has recently taken the position. I certainly agree with you that it is a majorly positive thing for both Jerry and the Jim Beam company. Maybe next time we get to Bardstown we can get a chance to speak with him. We have met Bill Friel, with whom Jerry ran the bourbon still at Barton Brands for so many years.
I found Bushido's comments on what happens after a bourbon bottle is opened (oxidation/evaporation) intriguing. It has left me with some questions.
I am new to bourbon and am starting to build a collection (to drink, not display). I have about 17 bottles of various bourbons I've purchased recently and I'd like to taste several over a short period of time (say a weekend.) But I do not drink so much -- so for now, I have opened only two or three bottles and am waiting till they are almost gone before moving on to try something new in my modest collection. I'm afraid if I do a mass tasting, several bottles will stay untouched for months and may oxidize. Unfortunately, many of the bourbons I'm purchasing aren't sold in miniatures or 375 ml size, so I have a buy the full 750 size which takes longer to consume. Is there a general guideline (perhaps by distillery or bottling) which indicates how much of a shelf life the product has once opened? Are we talking 6 months, one year, two?
Thanks for your thoughts.
If I have a bottle of something special, I have a bad habit of leaving about one-drink-worth in the bottom of the bottle. It is a bad habit because I am just begging for oxidation damage. Better just to finish it off. That said, though, I have never polished off a bottle to discover I had waited too long. It has happened to me in bars, but never at home.
However, there is no great urgency to this. It depends on how sensitive your palate is, but you can probably measure the time in years, rather than months. A full bottle, well sealed, will last virtually forever.
A personal example. A friend gave me a bottle of Very Very Old Fitzgerald--100 proof, distilled in 1963, bottled in 1976--in June of 1996. Yes, a very good friend. I couldn't resist trying it, so I probably broke the seal within a few months. I have had one or two drinks from it since, but the bottle is still about half full. It occurred to me just last night that I really need to either drink it or transfer it to a smaller bottle. (Drinking pretty much won that argument.) I then poured a snifter-full and drank it. The whiskey is still fine. "Fine," in fact, doesn't even begin to express what it is. It is wonderful. The point is, it hasn't suffered noticeably and the bottle has been open for more than three years. I don't want to press my luck, so I probably will finish it soon, but that gives you a benchmark.
There is no reason one distillery's product should be affected more or less than any other by oxidation. Remember, the spirit is exposed to plenty of oxygen while it is aging. Keep your caps tight and drink up when the level gets down to the last drink or two, and you should be okay.
If you are concerned, you can transfer the whiskey into progressively smaller bottles as you drink it. The key is a good seal, so you only have the small amount of oxygen that is already in the bottle to worry about.
If you want to see what oxidation is all about, leave a small amount of whiskey on the counter in an uncovered glass for a day or more, then taste it. It isn't necessarily horrible, but it definitely damages the taste.
So Chuck gets this fabulous bottle of bourbon and says: "I couldn't resist, so I probably opened it within a few months." A few months? What is *that* all about? I have a friend with a really good collection of single malts, and I couldn't believe he had a number of unopened bottles. Why buy whiskey and not taste it? Especially something you know is going to be amazing. Is this part of the treat, building up lots of anticipation? Sheesh. My curiosity would get the better of me, if nothing else. Crack that cap and let's see what comes out!
In my defense, the gift of the VVO Fitz was on the occasion of my graduation from law school. Everyone knows I enjoy fine spirits, so a lot of my gifts were along those lines. The VVO Fitz was merely the most distinguished. I don't recall exactly how long it was before I cracked the seal, but it was no more than a couple of months. It may have been a couple of days. In other words, I totally agree with you and don't understand the appeal of collecting unopened bottles with no particular intention to ever open them. As far as I'm concerned, whiskey don't keep.
Don't forget guys, you can't take it with you-so ENJOY!.
Chuck, I'm very envious of you having that bottle of VV Old Fitz that my father made in the 60's. NOBODY makes whiskey like that anymore.
It is a delight and I am savoring every drop.
BTW, I got your sister's book today and it looks terrific. More after I have had a chance to read it. My kudos to both of you for embracing your legacy and keeping the spirit alive.
Yes, let me add a plug in here, too. Linda bought me (us) a copy of the book (But Always Fine Bourbon - Pappy Van Winkle & the Story of Old Fitzgerald) for Christmas. She couldn't find it anywhere and ended up locating the publisher and calling them on the phone. Sally Campbell (Julian's sister) autographed the book for us, and when we went to visit Julian in February, he did, too. It really is an impressive work, and she can be very proud of it. The book itself, aside from the contents, is a work of art. Obviously, no expense was spared to produce an impressive work. The paper, the binding, the multiple stock used, everything about this book just screams "quality". And the contents are no less impressive. We have a lot of bourbon-oriented books in our collection, but none give this kind of perspective. When you read a book (or at least when I do) you imagine someone is speaking to you. In this book, the "someone" is a little girl, telling her fifth or sixth grade class about her summer visiting at her grampa's company plant. I'd sure love if my own grandaughter would be able to write a book like that. Pappy would be really proud to read this book. By the way, sentiment aside, the fully adult Sally Campbell has taken care to put plenty of real information into this book, so it's not just a bunch of sentimental "stuff". It belongs in ANY serious collector's library.
I can understand not cracking open a good bottle immediately. For example, I received a bottle of Pappy's 20 Year Reserve for Christmas, and I still haven't opened it -- I feel like I should wait for a special occasion or something, especially since I have a couple of other bottles of great stuff to go through right now (Woodford Reserve and Buffalo Trace).
Oh well... with finals over in a few weeks, I may have to open that bottle up, especially after my Property exam (those of you who went through law school know what I'm talking about....for the rest of you, imagine algebra/calculus word problems without equations to work with).
Good drinking all,