I'm bit of a beginner with whisky and hopefully I'm not asking stupid questions, but how to maintain opened bottle in a good shape ... and how long it can be stored. Just that I'm worried about my opened 16 Y.O. Lagavulin bottle (which is btw. a splendid whisky). Should I call my friends to finish the remaining of the bottle or can it be stored for few months?
Welcome to the wonderful world of whisky! As long as you close the bottle properly and do not expose it to extremes of temperature or light, storing it for a few months is no problem. When the bottle becomes emptier and emptier you may notice a slight change in taste due to oxidation processes. This is something that effects some whiskies more than others (some even improve!) but happens on a time frame of a year rather than a few months.
Hope this helps!
What comes to changes to taste, I could swear that my last quarter of Lagavulin tastes different than when I opened it month ago and served it to few friends. Of course, time or what you have eaten/drunk bit earlier could do tricks to sense of taste too ... and good company. Anyway, subjective opinion would be that Lagavulin has become milder.
Any good ideas how to neutralize your mouth before tasting whisky?
As for clearing the palate I think if you are going to taste properly you need to be eating bland foods for a day or so beforehand as no matter what you do to clear your palate if you have eaten garlic it is going to effect the taste. However this is one of my likes about whisky, it's complex and ever changing just from one single bottle!
Also for those interested I sometimes smoke a cigar with a whisky and many whisky's and enhanced by the experience, so sometimes I would say it's good not have a "clear" palate.
I have experienced that indeed as long as the bottle is at least half full, the whisky doesn't change a lot over two and sometimes even three years.
A few months ago I reopened a 35c-bottle of Coal Ila of which only one fourth was left. It had been like that for over one year and I can tell you that when I tasted it again recently it tasted like real bad water. I kind of panicked. I felt so stupid to have left it there as a sort of a relic (it was one of my finest bottles...). A real shame. To avoid the same experience I immediately put aside alle the bottles which were less than half full (some 15 bottles). Some of which had been opened 2 years ago.
Well, while I am emptying them now during the last weeks, I have noticed that all bottles with real corks didn't change much or become "flat" (Oof !). But I also have some Gordon & McPhail's with metallic screw tops, and there, I did taste a difference. The flavour was far less complex. Indeed the Coal Ila was also a screw top from Signatory.
For me this is a lesson I will retain.
Did any one else have the same experience with corks and screw tops ?
In short, you can't taste the alcohol any more.
I recently did the same thing - ie finished off about half a dozen bottles which were all less than half full so they wouldn't spoil. I'd owned most of them for two or three years, and the only one I wasn't happy with as I thought it wasn't as good was a Cardhu. All had cork stoppers, so I'm not sure that would have made any difference. Indeed with wine, as many as one in twelve bottles with corks end up tainting the wine in some way - those with a screw cap although not perfect, will have less chance of spoiling....
It would be interesting to see an article on this phenomemn sometime, and some suggestions on the best way to store whisky to avoid this happening.
My suggestion for collectors is to buy two - keep one unopened and drink the other one.
"Should I drink it straight away?", "Shall I take it slow, to enjoy?, "Will it change after some time?", "Can I keep it forever , once it is opend?". These question are being asked, as long as people got their first bottle of whisky, and still drinking it bottle after bottle.
My experience is, that the whisky will change after a certain period. Even, once a bottle is opend, it might change after 6 or maybe 7 months. During the years it will change, and the speed of changing, will depend of the strength of alcohol. I remembered one time that I bought my first bottle of Macallan 10Y old at 40%, I was so fond of that stuff that I kept it for a period of 6 years, I really enjoyed that wonderful stuff. However after 6 years there has been quite a changing that took place there in the bottle, time after tim when I took a dram, the taste was changing a lot, when I finished the bottle after 6 long years there was only 2 inches of the contents left. It was quite interesting to see what realy happend with the whisky once the bottle has been opend. I experienced it time after time, and noticed that quality was also a major factor. If you have a good quality of whisky, the taste will change, but not that quickly, it may take a while before it realy changes. I remeber my bottle of 21Y old Bowmore, I still have it and there are 2 inches of it left in the bottle, and still tastes very good, although it has changed a bit, but it's still OK.(don't worry I'll finish this one very soon) So in a way we can say it will change, and depending on certain important factors, it can be from several months to several years.
But don't forget, that your very own taste bud will change after some years, you must keep that in mind.
If you wish to keep a bottle for a very long long time, just don't open it store it at a dark and cool place(15-18 degrees celcius), and open it when the right time has come.
You can do the same with opend bottles, just store them in a cool and dark place.....
Well this is my opinion of opend and unopend bottles...
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