Do decanters serve a purpose beyond the purely aesthetic? If so, what should I be looking for in buying them? It would seem that a narrow neck decanter might slow the oxidation process after the bottle was opened, preserving the whisky (quite the opposite of wine, where a wide body decanter is desired to facilitate contact with air). Is that the case? Are their other considerations that I should consider in buying decanters? If so, what are they?
I drink primarily single malt Scotch whisky, but I usually have a Kentucky or Tennessee bourbon whiskey and a cognac on hand. I would assume the considerations would be the same for all three.
Hayek89 wrote:Do decanters serve a purpose beyond the purely aesthetic? If so, what should I be looking for in buying them? It would seem that a narrow neck decanter might slow the oxidation process after the bottle was opened, preserving the whisky (quite the opposite of wine, where a wide body decanter is desired to facilitate contact with air). Is that the case? Are their other considerations that I should consider in buying decanters? If so, what are they?
Decanters are a throwback to when whiskey only came in barrels. You'd go to your local grocer or whatever with your gallon jug, and have it filled up. Decanters were for easier handling, display, and if the barrel had been charred, to decant off the charred bits that would otherwise still be floating in your whiskey.
The only modern uses decanters have for whiskey are aesthetics and possibly to disguise the brand if you prefer to leave private how much (or how little) you actually spend on your spirits.
And of course the warm fuzzies one gets from following hundred year old customs despite the fact they no longer serve any good purpose. After all, not letting things like practicality or utility get in the way of tradition is one of the signs of good breeding.
not that I would feel the urge or the need to comment on every post made in this forum, but...
Decanting whisky does the same things as decanting wine does, that is obvious. I should think that decanting a malt would speed up the aging of the whisky that occurs slowly in every bottle as the whisky gets less and the volume of air above it increases. I find that the first sip out of a fresh bottle always tastes different form all drams afterwards. Most of the time I open a bottle try the whisky and try again after a week. What you do with decanting a malt is to bring almost all of its volume in contact with air and thereby you further oxiygenation i.e. an artificial aging of the malt. That would mean that it reaches the point of the natural "second aging in the bottle" earlier and more complete and intense.
That could mean the the decanter should be emptied sooner than the original bottle. That makes a lot of difference.
Some folks here have discussed rebottling in smaller vessels for long term storage, as a way of minimizing oxidation.
believe it or not but you can actually buy marbles to put into the bottles in order to fill up the volume of fluid you lose when pouring. Interesting and sound approach to that problem but be careful when you take your next dram, don´t be to greedy. It could be hard to swallow this time.
...can't quite work in a joke the way Mr. T can (seal... walrus, indeed) but would think that having anyone witness my Whisky collection - and numerous bottles "preserving" marbles I would be asking for anything that came my way...
1. Make sure that if the decanter is made form crystal that it contains no lead. Some research has found that lead can leach into the whiskey quite quickly and soon it will push it over the safe drinking threshold of around 15 micrograms per litre. After storing for four months, one article found that the lead content can reach as high as 5,000 micrograms per litre. Not something you want to play with!
2. The stopper should be air tight otherwise the whiskey will deteriorate if stored for too long. This shouldn't be too much of a problem if you're an avid whiskey consumer, but if planning on a seldom drink then looking for a decanter that has a rubber ring around the stopper will solve your problems.
For more info and some cool whiskey decanter designs, check out: http://dopehome.com/best-whiskey-decant ... h-bourbon/
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