In that light I do have one question that is (perhaps?) less subjective ... Does the quality of the whisky in a bottle degrade (a little, some, a lot??) upon opening?? I know whisky doesn't "spoil" but I would guess there is SOME effect from oxidation and such.... What is the common wisdom on this????
Thanks in advance to all.
kb, we've been discussing these very issues elsewhere, and the answer is: Sometimes, maybe, depending. The worst thing that can happen after opening, of course, is evaporation of alcohol and perhaps other volatiles. This can happen pretty fast if you leave the bottle standing around with no stopper in it. In normal usage, we have all agreed that six months to a year is pretty safe, and sometimes, under optimal conditions, a bottle will be fine for several years. The lower the level in the bottle, the faster the deterioration. However long you've had it, when it gets much below half full, resist the temptation to try to make it last and drink it up in reasonably quick order.
I've noticed that some whiskies don't taste too good immediately upon opening, and improve shortly thereafter.
kbuzbee in the poll there is a very important tag missing. The "Yes and No" or, as my old chemistry teacher was fond of saying "It depends...". I have a bottle of Dalmore 10 years I didn´t like from the start. After five years (yes that spells 5) it becomes more drinkable if very slowly. So it really depends. I find that some opened bottles improve others dont change and still others deteriorate (Greetings Mr Picky, no need to put your feathers up here).
And that is where all the subjectivity comes in. It is the same with the first taste out of a freshly opened bottle. I rarely find that the second dram is the same taste as this very first. So there is a change almost imediately but no one can say in advance how long it goes on before it finds a stable equilibrium or how far it reaches.
How long does a bottle whisky last once open?
What happens to whisky when left in the bottle?
Decanters and Containers
Opened bottle deterioration?
Does unsealed whiskey go bad?
Does time spent bottled affect taste?
Oxidation vs evaporation
How to store bottles...?
Oxidation after opening
That said, thanks for your reply. That was always the position I'd taken but recently I'd noticed that some bottles I'd open fairly recently (3 mo) didn't seem to have the same depth I remembered them having. Now this could easily be my memory rather than any fault of the whisky but it did make me wonder what was generally thought...
And I do apologize if this is creating duplication of subject matter - I always like to think my questions are unique (':shock:')
My 'favorites' seem to hold up well for their (all too short) open life, Bookers, Jefferson, Laga 16..... But I was very surprised to find a bottle of Blanton's seems to loose a bunch of it's 'zip' when I returned to it a few months later. I do find different whiskys taste different on different days (I have no idea how these people who do "professional" tastings manage - if in fact they do!) and so can easily attribute this to differences in ME from day to day but none the less, I was interested to see what other people have noticed.
What started all this was my thinking to keep several bottles open to be able to choose the one that appeals that evening BUT I didn't want to do this if it was going to seriously degrade ALL of them....
Thanks for your thoughts (and Matt, thanks for the links!!)
Ken single malt whiskies are not only the most diverse of all drinks in aspect of diversity of flavours and aromas. Single malts are the most psychological of all drinks as well. How a whisky tastes is always a function of too many variables I care to remember - or to analyse. If trained master blenders or perfume designers or other professionals along that line are a special species or if they train to ignore respectively 'blend out' their individual sensitivities I do not know. If you care to undertake it you could make the following (thought-) experiment. Buy a bottle of single malt. Open it and write down your tasting notes and impressions put them into an envelope and seal it. Repeat every week, the same day, same time. When the bottle is empty compare your notes.
Would be interesting, don´t you think?
This seems to be my dilemma also. Since I'm still in the exploring stage I have as much as 30 bottles open at one time. Some fair really well and others don't. It seems the fresher bottlings can hold their flavors better than another that was bottled 10 years ago, but there doesn't seem to be a set pattern for age, strength or type. My individual bottles only seem to last about 4 months, so I can't tell you what one will do in terms of years.
As far as tasting different from day to day, I have noticed it does matter what you're in the mood for, what you've eaten beforehand, and even how tired or what time of day. trying not to get too neurotic about it, but I usually brush my teeth after a meal and wait about an hour before I start tasting, especially if I'm trying a new malt and writing my notes. Some days nothing tastes right and others they are almost all sublime, go figure
Three different sessions yielded three different results. It led me to the conclusion that, at least for me, _I_ was the most variable aspect of my tastings..... At least amoung these very fine quality Bourbons... diffferent whiskys tasted different on different days.....
Good question though, it's a concern for all of us and it's one reason that most of us don't have an unlimited supply of opened bottles at any one time.
One of the MOST variable thing I've found (be interested in your perception) is how 'hydrated' I am..... Maybe because it's been so hot here.... don't know... But after dinner I'm making sure to drink 3-4 16 oz glasses of water before moving on to tastier offerings.....
My perception these last 4-5 days is a much higher degree of consistency than I'd come to expect..... Who'd have thought???
I think (hope) this is more than liking something because JM says it is good, because before discovering JM I found that my opinions were often at odds to other expert tasters. With JM, though, I tend to concur with his views although I think he overrates peat a little.
I was very encouraged one night to write my own notes on whiskies without a reference book and later find that my notes matched JM's. Suggests I'm not just throwing away good money on an unappreciative palate!
Nick - I do enjoy reading the "professional's" opinion of what is.... I often disagree with the conclusion but if the analysis matches mine I can 'usually' decide if it will be something I'd enjoy (note - I usually find SOMETHING to enjoy in each dram) I haven't tried doing a blind comparison.... Something to add to my list of interesting things to do.....
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