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wadewood

Does a bottle change after opening?

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wadewood   
wadewood

Does a modern bourbon change a detectable amount after being opened? Let's find out. For this experiment, I used OWA 107 proof 1 liter bottles. Both of these have same date code, 279th day of 2016. One of these, I drank a 1/2 oz pour daily for 38 days, which will resulted in depletion of about 55% of bottle. It was 'exposed' to fresh air each time I opened bottle.  The other will remain sealed until tonight.
Tonight, I will pour blind from the bottle I have drinking and I will open the other bottle at the tasting. I will pour 3 samples - 2 of one bottle and 1 of the other. Tasters will be asked if they can discern a difference and if so to identify the different sample. 

IMG_20170616_085824.jpg

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EarthQuake   
EarthQuake

I would say yes but that is based on anecdotal evidence, I've never done a blind testing to test the theory, so I will be interested to see your results.

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jeffrey r   
jeffrey r

Looking forward to the results.  I am a believer in airtime, and if anything, OWA would be one of my standard-bearers in airtime being of benefit.  Should be interesting.

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JTaylor   
JTaylor

I feel strongly that I've experienced a difference after some open time with SAOS, Bookers, MMCSPS, and ECBP A117. I've read the "airtime effect" is more pronounced with wheaters, but I've not necessarily experienced that. I've liked OWA from the first pour, and it seemed to me not to vary much throughout the bottle nor from bottle to bottle. Each time I felt there was a definite difference over time it was with one of the aforementioned brands, and each time my initial taste seemed meh or I actually felt there was an alcohol or solvent note I didn't care for, but they all seemed to taste better or lose that taste I didn't care for after some open time. The SAOS was most pronounced. I was actually disappointed with my first pour, but going back to it after a couple weeks I thought it was delicious and is now one of my favorite pours. I could very well have been having a bad night with each of these, but it seems unlikely since I've not been disappointed in any of them since. They've all become favorites and I've enjoyed them immensely aside from that first taste which leads me to believe that the airtime has had some effect...

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smokinjoe   
smokinjoe

Not a believer of the mystic air-time phenomena, but am a strict follower of Feng Shui-ing my bottles on my bar.  Four Roses bourbons in particular see incredible change for the better when positioned with the front label facing Due West while on the bar.  If I face the label North, it becomes very tannic and bitter.  

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Richnimrod   
Richnimrod

I won't bet money on the results; because, of my very few noted "air time differences" (all but one: improvements! YAY!), I never did the kind of test Wade is trying. 

I'm betting (no cash, though) there will be NO sample consistently picked as being different.

My palate changes so much from day to day sometimes that I'm fairly sure the 'air time' thing is more likely me changing than the Bourbon.

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Vosgar   
Vosgar
5 hours ago, smokinjoe said:

 If I face the label North, it becomes very tannic and bitter.  

Must have been what happened to my bottle of the first batch of Cody Road  :P

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musekatcher   
musekatcher
10 hours ago, wadewood said:

Does a modern bourbon change a detectable amount after being opened? Let's find out. For this experiment, I used OWA 107 proof 1 liter bottles. Both of these have same date code, 279th day of 2016. One of these, I drank a 1/2 oz pour daily for 38 days, which will resulted in depletion of about 55% of bottle. It was 'exposed' to fresh air each time I opened bottle.  The other will remain sealed until tonight.
 

So you drank/sloshed it over 38 days, then left it half full but sealed for 5.5 months, and doing an A/B test.  At the higher proof, I'd think they will be hard to discriminate.  But, drink on the half bottle for another 3-4 months, depleting it down to about 4 ounces left.  I bet you'll find a difference then.  And, if you leave the four ounces for another year or longer, you will definitely find a difference, not desired. 

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mbroo5880i   
mbroo5880i

All of my bottles change after opening.  They always become empty.  I can't put my finger on the reason, although I notice some become empty quicker than others. :mellow:

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Richnimrod   
Richnimrod
37 minutes ago, mbroo5880i said:

All of my bottles change after opening.  They always become empty.  I can't put my finger on the reason, although I notice some become empty quicker than others. :mellow:

Ooooooh, You may be onto something there, mbroo5880i.    If I were you, I'd set up a motion activated video camera and digitally "film" the culprits draining down yer bottles!     <_<

You might even discover why some get lower quicker than others....?

If you pin down any verifiable facts let us know.    I think I may have the same problems going on in my liquor cabinets, too.    ....But, I'm just too lazy to do all the stuff I suggested.    HA!  :lol:

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wadewood   
wadewood
Posted (edited)

The results. We had 9 participants. Test was pour of 3 samples - 2 samples from one bottle, 1 sample from the other test bottle. Tasters were asked if they could discern a difference in one of the samples. 
--2 tasted and said no difference. 
--6 tasted and indicated a difference, but the one they picked they tasted 2 of that same bottle
--1 tasted and indicated a difference and selected the odd sample.

Edited by wadewood

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smokinjoe   
smokinjoe
14 hours ago, Vosgar said:

Must have been what happened to my bottle of the first batch of Cody Road  :P

I consulted Feng Shui Grandmaster Po regarding your issue.  After some time with his Luo pan he determined an Eastern position in your domicile with label facing less than 27 degrees, but not more than 33.5 from due East is the sweet spot to bring out rich and buttery caramel, toffee, burnt sugar, with hints of anise from your Cody Road.  Go too far (34 to 40 degrees ), and you risk bringing in wet dog.  Unless, it's a year of the Rat, then all bets are off.  

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Charlutz   
Charlutz
1 hour ago, wadewood said:

The results. We had 9 participants. Test was pour of 3 samples - 2 samples from one bottle, 1 sample from the other test bottle. Tasters were asked if they could discern a difference in one of the samples. 
--2 tasted and said no difference. 
--6 tasted and indicated a difference, but the one they picked they tasted 2 of that same bottle
--1 tasted and indicated a difference and selected the odd sample.

 

It's hard to argue with science! That said, I definitely feel like some bottles get better with time, but that's likely just a poor description. Most likely, with a little work, a bourbon I don't like at first becomes better as I get dialed in with the right amount of water, ice, etc. or that variations in my palate from food, prior drinks, tiredness, etc. change the way the liquor tastes. Always good to have more data to enhance the experience. Thanks for doing the tasting and posting the results.

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flahute   
flahute

Thanks for the report Wade. 

 

I used to to be a believer in "air time". The longer I do this however, the more and more I realize it's variation in my palate as well as my palate's ability to adjust as I get more familiar with a bottle over time. (Kind of like 'acquired taste') 

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CaliER   
CaliER

I agree. When I've perceived a change in a bottle after some air time I've always assumed it was more likely changes in my palate than the liquid in the bottle.

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Bourbonmakesmepoop   
Bourbonmakesmepoop

Still not convinced, although not because of my palate. The reason is because #1: wine oxidizes so why wouldn't bourbon? albeit at a much slower pace.

#2: when I fall asleep with bourbon in my glass it sometimes gets foggy and growse overnight. If this happens, then why wouldn't it happen slower to a larger volume in a bottle (much slower due to less air exposure but still).

any explanations?

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Richnimrod   
Richnimrod
3 hours ago, Bourbonmakesmepoop said:

Still not convinced, although not because of my palate. The reason is because #1: wine oxidizes so why wouldn't bourbon? albeit at a much slower pace.

#2: when I fall asleep with bourbon in my glass it sometimes gets foggy and growse overnight. If this happens, then why wouldn't it happen slower to a larger volume in a bottle (much slower due to less air exposure but still).

any explanations?

1) Wine is a fermented product, whisky is a distilled product... Apples and watermelons, my friend.

2) I have NEVER had a pour of Bourbon get 'foggy' (I don't know the term growse) other than frost haze; but that happens rather quickly when a Bourbon is chilled, such as when adding an ice cube. 

Now, I have had a glass (glencairn, or other) get cloudy looking, after several pours over the course of an evening leave a residue coating the sides of the glass.   Is this what you're seeing?

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Bourbonmakesmepoop   
Bourbonmakesmepoop

No, not a coating on the glass. He entire pour is opaque. it's about half the time when I wake up after leaving it downstairs I notice it's extremely cloudy, at first I thought maybe my kids would see it and put food or something in there but I've noticed it when the kids are away too. Not always though, I've never done any experimenting but I did google it one time and saw others with the same issue. I also boldly took a sip one morning and it tasted bland and bitter as hell, after sitting less than 12 hours by my bedside table.

 

if it's not contamination then that would leave me to believe that air time does have an effect. 

 

From what I read, maybe if the air is more humid, some of the moisture could get "absorbed" by the whiskey in the glass. I don't know if that's even feasible or not, I'm no chemist. That doesn't sound right though.

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smokinjoe   
smokinjoe

Has anybody had success improving their bourbon by harnessing positive energy with replica voodoo doll bottles?  Or, does that only work on rum?   

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GeeTen   
GeeTen
Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, smokinjoe said:

Has anybody had success improving their bourbon by harnessing positive energy with replica voodoo doll bottles?  Or, does that only work on rum?   

 

IMHE (In My Humble Experience), it only works on rum - Deadhead 6yr to be precise . . . . . . .   :ph34r:

 

 

deadhead.png

Edited by GeeTen
Pic added

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garbanzobean   
garbanzobean
On 6/17/2017 at 10:31 AM, Charlutz said:

 

It's hard to argue with science! That said, I definitely feel like some bottles get better with time, but that's likely just a poor description. Most likely, with a little work, a bourbon I don't like at first becomes better as I get dialed in with the right amount of water, ice, etc. or that variations in my palate from food, prior drinks, tiredness, etc. change the way the liquor tastes. Always good to have more data to enhance the experience. Thanks for doing the tasting and posting the results.

Quoting Charlie because I could not have said it better.  I have started to become skeptical of this phenomenon recently, though I admit to still not being 100% convinced of it.  Bourbon, by and large, is a pretty consistent product.  Is every distilled spirit like this?  Probably.  I have seen a few YouTube videos where tasters did something similar, but it was only between two glasses, and it was not blind.  On the other hand, I do have trouble believing hard liquor is completely impervious to air, or other environmental factors for that matter.  The question is, do such changes take place on a timeline that would be meaningful to us?  And are they really detectable?  If so, which ones have the most effect?  

 

Love Wade's execution of this test, by the way.  Really cool experiment, and hopefully one that we all start thinking about as we are enjoying our next bourbon.  Thanks for sharing Wade!

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flahute   
flahute
53 minutes ago, EarthQuake said:

Breaking Bourbon did a rather extensive test, trying different times open and different storage methods (in direct sunlight, in a dark place, etc).

 

http://www.breakingbourbon.com/bourbon-storage-experiment.html

Thanks for posting this. I was going to do the same and don't have to now!

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0895   
0895
On 6/17/2017 at 8:44 PM, Bourbonmakesmepoop said:

No, not a coating on the glass. He entire pour is opaque. it's about half the time when I wake up after leaving it downstairs I notice it's extremely cloudy, at first I thought maybe my kids would see it and put food or something in there but I've noticed it when the kids are away too. Not always though, I've never done any experimenting but I did google it one time and saw others with the same issue. I also boldly took a sip one morning and it tasted bland and bitter as hell, after sitting less than 12 hours by my bedside table.

 

if it's not contamination then that would leave me to believe that air time does have an effect. 

 

From what I read, maybe if the air is more humid, some of the moisture could get "absorbed" by the whiskey in the glass. I don't know if that's even feasible or not, I'm no chemist. That doesn't sound right though.

 

I think the moral of the story here is that you should probably quit drinking such boring pours, that are causing you to fall asleep.

Time to buy something more exciting!

:)

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b1gcountry   
b1gcountry

Nice one^^

I'm not sure oxidation doesn't happen, but I've stopped worrying about it. I had a bottle of Glen livet 12 about 2 years ago. It was sitting around with one last pour for probably 3 years. When i finally finished it, it was pretty dang good.

The ironic part is I was avoiding that bottle the last year just because I was sure it had oxidized, and would be pretty bland. It wasn't. At least not any more so than regular GL12.

Sent from my SPH-L720 using Tapatalk

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