Sep 12, 2022
Why Do You Use A Decanter For Whiskey?
In modern culture, whiskey decanters have effectively replaced coffee table books as the object of desire. You won’t have any trouble locating one that complements your unique sense of style, regardless of whether you’re an avid globetrotter or more of a goth.
- For a number of decades, many people regarded whiskey decanters as a mark of prestige.
- These whiskey accessories, which were made of glass or crystal, rose to prominence very rapidly and were the ultimate symbol for the supreme CEO.
- Even if we all know that there is no such thing as a really finished workplace without one, whiskey decanters are really more of a household item these days.
In point of fact, the primary factor that causes the vast majority of customers to hesitate before purchasing their very own whiskey decanter is the fact that they are unsure of its purpose. A whiskey decanter, like a wine decanter, enables oxygen to interact with the whiskey, although not to the same extent as a wine decanter will.
Wine decanters allow more oxygen to come into contact with the whiskey. When wine is transferred from the bottle into a decanter, the liquid is given the opportunity to oxidize, thereby allowing the sediment to settle to the bottom of the vessel. When you pour your whiskey into a decanter, the spirit will be able to interact with air, which will make it easier for more subtle scents to develop.
This means that when you take your first whiff, you will be able to smell more than just the burning alcohol. In addition to that, whiskey is far more resistant to deterioration when stored in a decanter than wine is. If you want to make sure that your drink won’t spill no matter where you put the decanter, look for one that has a stopper that won’t break and a bottom that won’t wobble.
- It goes without saying that you should always check to see if the bottle is “lead-free,” as there are still numerous lead crystal decanters available for purchase.
- After that, it’s a matter of aesthetics, so try to pick the decanter that fulfills all of your fantasies regarding Bourbon, Rye, and Irish whiskey.
Because it is the ideal combination of trustworthy whiskey technology and elegant appearance, this decanter is the one that we at VinePair reach for time and time again. Don’t worry if you haven’t yet found the ideal glass (slipper) decanter; we’ve included a number of alternatives down below; simply continue reading to get the container that best suits your needs.
Does whiskey get better after opening?
Should you decant your whiskey?
In contrast to wine, an unopened bottle of whiskey will not improve in quality over time if it is just stored on a shelf. As long as it is kept in the appropriate environment, particularly at the appropriate temperature, it has the potential to remain there for years, even decades (room temperature, around 55 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit).
However, this is not the case with a whiskey bottle that has been opened. Just like wine, the moment you open a bottle of whiskey and pour the first glass, it begins to oxidize and deteriorate, although it takes far longer for this to happen with whiskey than it does with wine. Once the seal on a bottle of whiskey has been broken, the rate at which the whiskey deteriorates from good to not so good can be affected by a variety of factors including exposure to light, temperature variations, oxygen, and even the position of the bottle itself.
It’s possible that many people will feel that the whiskey has actually gotten better after being opened, and it’s generally believed that regardless of how or where you store a bottle, most are good for at least two years after having been opened. This is true even if some people have the impression that the whiskey has gotten worse after being opened.
However, there are a few things that need to be done in order for an opened bottle of whiskey to remain drinkable for at least five years after it has been opened. The first thing you need to do is put the bottle away in a cold, dark spot that maintains a consistent temperature and restricts the amount of light that the liquid is exposed to.
If the bottle was packaged in a canister, you should not throw it away but rather use it as an additional layer of protection. The second step is to make sure that the bottle is stored upright rather than on its side, as is customary when storing wine.
Does whiskey change once opened?
When the proof is higher, the whiskey contained within the bottle is more prone to evaporation. Over time, it will shift and develop. As soon as you crack open a bottle of whisky for the first time, the flavor will be constrained, and the aroma will be less expressive.
For the wine’s full flavors to emerge, you will need to decant it and let it sit in the glass for a longer period of time. The closer the bottle goes to being empty, the more the flavors will either get muted or intensified, depending on the state of the bottle (depending on the whisky). In my experience, it works like that.
The scientific community has mixed feelings on this. Whisky has been shown to be a product that does not degrade over time when subjected to the stringent quality controls carried out by the industry. You will be able to recognize the flavor of whiskey in the bottle regardless of how long it has been sealed or how long it has been aged, provided that it has been stored in a dark place away from direct sunlight.
In stark contrast to this is wine, which will continue to ferment even after the bottle has been opened. However, according to the observations of a great number of whiskey aficionados, the flavor of whisky can subtly transform with time in the bottle. This aspect of the whisky-making process has received relatively little academic attention.
As I mentioned at the outset, as far as the folks in lab coats are concerned, whiskey does not change from the first drop to the final drop; it is always the same. Whisky tastes different to different people because of their unique palates. A bottle that is between three-quarters and four-fifths empty is probably going to experience these effects sooner than a bottle that has just been opened.
- Whiskies that have been peated lose their smokey characteristics.
- Ryes grow sweeter.
- After reaching a certain level of smoothness, scotches begin to exhibit more acidic notes, such as lemon and lime.
- In some circumstances whiskey starts losing its composure, and in other others it just flattens out losing its complexity.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that whisky and oxygen react with each other. Oxidation is an essential part of the aging process for whiskey. The flavor of whiskey can shift as a result of oxidation. In the first stages of maturation in the barrel, the molecules of alcohol are already quite complicated.
In most cases, we do not consider these complicated compounds to be advantageous. The alcohol molecule, in addition to the tannins that came from the oak, is progressively broken down by the process of oxidation. The process of aging in barrels includes oxidation as one of its many processes. On the other hand, oxidation is a gradual process, especially inside of a bottle that has been well sealed.
Don Livermore informed me that his business, Wiser’s, has conducted testing on partially filled bottles for up to five years, and the findings indicate that the whiskey contained within the bottle has not changed in any way during this time. Oxidation is not a plausible suspect in this case.
However, something is taking place. The vatting process is essential to the production of whiskey, as I was informed by the Master Blender at Buffalo Trace, Drew Mayville. This is especially true for unfiltered higher-proof whiskies. He assured me that he would not speed through it. Again, the interaction of the whisky with the air is a contributor to the alteration that occurs in the vat.
Vatting produces other benefits, one of which is the ability to achieve a balanced mix of whiskey drawn from a variety of casks. In a similar vein, Mary Reynier, who was formerly the owner of Bruichladdich and is now the proprietor of Waterford Distillery, informed me that the vatting procedure, as well as the amount of time the whisky spends in the vat, is an essential component of the process.
- In addition to that, he stole a word from the wine business and called it “Bottle Shock.” Mary Reynier is of the opinion that not all whiskies present their full potential as soon as they come off the bottling line.
- When you pour a glass of whiskey, you can smell the alcohol, caramel, and vanillas from about an arm’s length away.
If the whisky is peated, you can also smell the smoke. Whisky has a high volatility. These molecules are released into the environment as soon as you pour your whisky into the glass. This phenomenon is referred to as dissipation by chemists and physicists.
- It’s a chemical reaction that can’t be undone once it’s started.
- The phrase “once the tastes are gone, they’re gone” was said by Davin de Kergommeaux on a podcast that only touched tangentially on this subject, and I seem to recollect that it was said by him.
- This is an example of dissipation.
- During our conversations on whiskey and how the flavor may develop over time in the bottle, Don Livermore educated me on the idea of dissipation.
On Episode 67 of The Whisky Topic, Eric of WhiskyAnalysis.com presented a notion that was quite similar to this one. He hypothesized that it wasn’t the length of time whiskey is stored in a bottle that was nearly empty, but rather the number of times whisky is poured out of the bottle, which displaces the air inside the bottle and affects subsequent pours.
Dissipation is a concept that is discussed far less frequently than oxidation, which is a more common phrase; nonetheless, the two concepts’ meanings couldn’t be more unlike to one another. The overall flavor of the whiskey shifts as these volatile molecules escape the bottle, which is caused by the alteration.
At first, the more astringent volatile molecules evaporate, which smoothes out the flavor and brings the whiskey closer to its final form. Next, though, we begin to lose pleasurable nuances, which ultimately results in the whiskey being less complex over time.
- A short while ago, a good buddy and I had a special treat, which was Willet 23 Year Old Single Barrel served at cask strength.
- It is said to have originated in the same distillery as the original Pappy Van Winkle, although this cannot be confirmed (Stitzel-Weller distillery).
- It tastes like Pappy with a larger explosion of flavor.
Even after just one year, the bottle had lost part of its personality, despite the fact that my friend had been conserving it. This was a high-proof monster with an alcohol content of 69% or above, and there is a greater chance of losing important flavor characteristics.
- Whisky heels are bottles near-empty.
- In the past, I would store them away for use on rare occasions.
- In this day and age, though, I’d much rather have the last sip of whisky be when it’s at its strongest rather than when it’s at its best.
- For whiskies bottled at or just over 40% ABV, these changes are relatively subtle; but, for whiskies with greater proofs, it is inevitable that a notable loss of taste will occur.
When the remaining liquid in your bottle is almost gone, you should finish it off and then go on to the next one.