Storing Whiskey In A Decanter: Pro Tips And More
, by Randy Woodward
, by Randy Woodward
Yes and no.
Let us understand that when whiskey is bottled, it is considered a finished liquor - it does not age in the bottle, unlike in wines. So the 12-year old whiskey drunk in the same year it was bottled will still taste the same if it was drunk 100 years after. It will also remain a 12-year old whiskey even if it was bottled 100 years ago. You do not add the age of the whiskey when it was bottled and the number of years it was in the bottle.
When a bottle of whiskey is opened, whiskey experts claim that the whiskey becomes smoother to taste. So opening the bottle may improve the taste of the whiskey but decanting does not necessarily do this.
If bottling the whiskey will not affect its age, decanting it will potentially ruin it. When the bottle is opened and the contents are transferred into a decanter, the same movement of air that affects the wine affects the whiskey too but not for the better.
Should you decide to use a decanter for your whiskey, you can keep the remaining whiskey overnight but be sure to consume it the next day. Try to find the most airtight stopper you can find to keep the air out of the whiskey.
While there is no functional purpose of using a decanter, there is a proper way to decant whiskey. Since the whiskey cannot be kept for long in the decanter, decant only the right amount plus two servings on top of your estimated consumption for a single setting, especially if you have company. It is not very proper to refill after a single round unless there are 20 of you and your decanter holds only 22 ounces. If so, have 2-3 filled decanters so you don’t have to refill after a single round.
Experts are divided in the issue of using a decanter for whiskey. Some are adamant not to decant whiskey since it does not have an apparent functional purpose. Others also argue since the purpose of the whiskey decanter is purely aesthetic so the user should be allowed to decide for himself. This can be likened to buying a floor light that is aesthetic compared to the practically functional ceiling-mounted light bulb. The bottom line is always the user’s discretion and decision.
For the purpose of discussion, let us assume that all whiskey decanters here are glass decanters, not crystal decanters. Should you keep whiskey in a decanter? Without the burden of thinking of the possibility of leached lead into the whiskey, the answer would still be no. Whiskey decanters are not really airtight so it will not be able to keep the whiskey long in the decanter. However, can you keep whiskey in a decanter? Yes. You can keep the whiskey in the decanter overnight. Only, you cannot assure that it would be of the same quality as the newly opened bottle.
Unlike in wine, decanting has an actual function; in whiskey, it is mostly aesthetic. Decanting your whiskey can also improve its perceived value. If you have an inferior whiskey that you want to serve, putting it into a decanter may entice people to drink it. Granted, it is kind of a phony move and it does not improve the taste of the whiskey.
Whiskey is put in the decanter to increase its perceived value by its aesthetics. The decanter also exudes a sense of power and success. If the user wants to show his powerful side, it is good to use a whiskey decanter.
Instead of keeping your whiskey in a decanter, find a smaller, airtight bottle to transfer your whiskey in. Less space in the bottle means less movement of the air and lesser evaporation and oxidation rate. Over time, the whiskey becomes flat as the aroma of the whiskey is dissipated. Be sure to consume this whiskey in 6 months but if the bottle is only less than half the contents of the bottle, the dissipation process increases and the whiskey flattens faster compared to an almost full bottle.
You can also seal your bottle with a self-sealing laboratory film. Cover the bottle with its cap and cover the cap with the film. Cut a smaller strip of the film and give it a good stretch then wind it around the cap to properly seal the bottle. This can last for a year but is recommended only if you won’t be opening the bottle within the 6-month period.
Keep it in a cool, dark area or in a wine fridge but be sure to store it in the fridge upright. You can also use an inert gas spray to remove the oxygen from the bottle so it does not oxidize the whiskey.
While decanting whiskey is not a must, it is also a welcome addition to the home or office bar. Handling the decanter well, knowing the basics of decanter etiquette, and keeping excess whiskey is also imperative for pleasing whiskey drinking experience. Here’s a review of elegant whiskey decanters that you can choose from.
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Question – in movies and TV you often see characters with multiple decanters on display, and that is something I am considering. However, if you own multiple whiskey or bourbons, how do you distinguish between them once they are in the decanter?
I enjoy learning about everything alcohol & it’s proper presentation & ceremonies. I’m not a big drinker, but I have friends who do & I wish to learn to entertain them proper. Thanks for the invite. Best, Shane Vincek