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Airing Out; Haunted Glassware; Blanton's; etc.

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As James Joyce undoubtedly once said, "Where do I begin?"

The beginning is often a good place, but I wasn't really planning to post any of this, at least not until I saw Chuck C. recommend "airing out" Virginia Gentleman for 15 minutes to eliminate some strange odor that Bobby C had detected. (I'll comment on that exchange another time. Right now I'm a little shaken by a post that refers to both anti-freeze and strange-tasting bourbon.) Now I'm wondering whether the airing out phenomenon accounts for an unsettling (at $50+ a bottle, damn right it was unsettling) experience I had last night with Blanton's.

I'll skip over how long I examined and fondled the goods at each stage of the unpacking. Let's just say I wanted to be sure I got my money's worth.

With the cork finally extracted, suddenly I was unsure of the next step. Should I sneak a little sniff right from the bottle, take a sip in the same manner, pour a little into my straight-sided whiskey glass, or do likewise with my snifter?

I decided to pour about an ounce into the whiskey glass for sniffing (I can't make myself say "nosing" yet -- the color brown has some association there) and sipping, after which I would transfer the remainder into the snifter for serious sniffing. (The mysterious raspberry that I detected in JD Single Barrel, only when it was in the snifter, still weighed on my mind.)

My first sniff at a distance was a disappointment. The aroma was interesting and pleasant, but I couldn't identify any of its components. Other whiskies have smelled as good or better.

The first sip was similar. "I paid over 50 bucks for this?" went through my mind. On the positive side I did notice a cognac-like feel and the total absence of burn or any form of harshness, from tip of tongue to bottom of tummy.

Sensing that maybe I'd made a mistake with this purchase, I poured what was left in the whiskey glass into the snifter. I took a gentle sniff at a distance. "What IS that odor [not "aroma"]", I thought to myself. A deeper sniff brought it into perspective... I have to pause here for an aside before I continue.

{I thought some terrible thoughts about everyone who had raved about Blanton's, just as you may think terrible thoughts about me for what I am about to say. However, rest assured that all was, or will be, well at the end.}

The odor in question was either Windex or Dow Bathroom Cleaner. "Can't be!!", I thought; "It is!!", I blurted aloud after my next sniff. "WTF is going on here? Bad bottle? Yeah, that's it; it must be. No, wait a minute; how unlikely is that? I just happen to get the only bad bottle of Blanton's ever sold? I'd better take a sip and see if the taste has changed as the aroma has. Nope. Still tastes like it did in the other glass."

Crestfallen as I was, I gently sipped the rest of the bourbon from the snifter, trying to avoid inhaling as I did so. I began to wonder whether there was dishwashing detergent residue in the glass. I had used a tiny bit the last time I washed it, but I knew I had rinsed it thoroughly and dried it carefully on a fresh dish towel.

I washed it again. After I dried it, I stuck my nose into it as far as it would go and inhaled deeply. No Windex odor was present, but I could smell a vague mustiness. I sniffed a couple of water glasses from the cupboard. No mustiness there.

"OK it's the snifter's fault", I thought. "I don't know how, but that's the most likely answer".

I returned to my chair and poured another ounce into the whiskey glass. I was literally afraid to taste it again, fearing the result. It sat there for, oh, maybe 15 minutes. I took a sip.

"Hey, this stuff is tasting better. What was that anyway? Mom's apple pie? Oh, I get it! It was brown sugar with a hint of cinnamon, and just a bit of something tart underneath, like apple. Where the hell did that come from? Those are certainly not ingredients of any common household cleaners; that's for sure."

Then I inhaled deeply. Nothing but more apple pie. I finally started to believe that Blanton's would bring me enjoyment.

I started reading a book, pausing occasionally to sip. Then a remarkable thing happened. I caught myself taking a sip and just barely being conscious of it. On one level I suppose that's a bad thing, but it's something I've never done with any other whiskey. No matter how much I _say_ I like a certain whiskey, I'm always a little apprehensive that it will hurt at some point between lips and tummy. With Blanton's, that apprehension quietly disappeared.

By the time I finished drinking the second glass it was time to go to bed.



1. Did I really smell a Windex-like odor?

2. If so, did it dissipate from the second glass during the 15 minutes I stalled?

3. If bourbon can change that much, that quickly, how stable can it possibly be after air enters the bottle?

4. Does bourbon have a shelf-life limitation after the bottle is opened?

5. Can glassware become tainted?

Yours truly,

Dave Morefield

Retiree, Musician, Dog-Lover, Whiskey-Drinker

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I'm going to skip right to questions 4 and 5, because I have some experience there.

4. Does bourbon have a shelf-life limitation after the bottle is opened?

Yes. After you open the bottle, with exposure to air again just like wine it oxidizes, and tastes can change over months...but no noticable changes I've seen over moments. It's a good excuse to buy a few small bottles of spendy whiskey, two of the pint size Blantons bottles have much to be said for 'em. Particularly that you can always slip one of 'em to me.

5. Can glassware become tainted?

Yes indeed. Storage in an airtight wooden 'china cabinet' can taint the glass with minute, but perceptible flavors/aromas, as can dishwashing soap, or even water trapped inside as it dries. Remember all those old western movies where the bartender was polishing glasses with a dishtowel? Now you know why. And consider that your water glasses may also be just as 'tainted' on a regular basis but do you swirl and savor, smell and sip your water with the same care as you do a $50 bottle of good bourbon? I know I don't. But when and if bottled water ever gets up to $50, expect me to pay more attention.

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If for nothing else, that is one helluva story to tell!!!!

Now, as far as I know:

1) I have never smelled windex in ant of the 3 bottles of Blanton's I have owned. I would've probably never bought another one if I did. BUT, from reading here I have come to find out that bad batches do get out every now and then (Jim's Ancient Age Posts are a good example, from the same distillery even), so that could be the case.

2)I have never smelled it, so I would say no.

3) . . . .

4) I have had my 3rd Blanton's bottle opened for 18 months now and it hasnt seemed to me to degrade in quality at all since then. Thats the bottle I used to post my tasting with and had nothing but good things to say about it. The key for me is keeping it sealed tight. Because it is my "Special Pour" and I dont drink it much, i saran wrap the top to double seal it. There has been much said here before about how Cork Finished bottles sometimes let you down sealwise.

5) Only thing i can think of is that over time & use, your glasses got little cracks or ruts, and some of the dish detergent got settled in there, making it harder to rinse.

But I just think its haunted. wink.gif Ole Col. Blanton is just playin games with your head!!!


Rock On,


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Dave take a deep breath. Try to relax. Break out your bass and carress her. It's very simple. You want a single sip to take you to nirvana. It can, but you don't know the way yet.

You have so super-charged your senses that rather than smelling the bourbon you got the dish washing liquid/windex in your glass. Relax dude! You're hyper-sniffelating here!

Step One is to take your time. Get rid of that shirt and tie. Take off your pants. You cannot appreiciate a good bourbon with your clothes on.

Blanton's is very subtile and very balanced. It's not going to bowl you over like a bowling ball.

Yet I am surprised that you didn't just sit there and smile, and say "Damn this is good!

Try this -> wash out your glass with warm salt water only. Then rinse with cold clear water. Do the same thing with your mouth. Then eat a piece of plain white bread. Now taste again. This holds true for any bourbon.

I have had over fifty bottles of Blanton's and never have I had a bad bottle.

I think you're trying too hard. Just drink the stuff. It'll come to ya.

Remember this -> If you don't like Blanton's then you just don't like bourbon.

Linn Spencer

Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

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what about us freaks who dont like white bread. White bread is the ONLY thing that I Absolutely Refuse to eat.

BLEAH just the though of the stuff makes me sick tongue.gif!!


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