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Old Dogs, New Tricks

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@Victor
Victor started a discussion

After 14 years of being hard-core enthusiastic about whiski, 300+ bottles purchased, 1,000+ whiskis sampled, dozens of group whiski tastings presented, and $ 25,000 spent, one thing that impresses me very strongly about whiski is how much flavours and smells of the whiski change and develop after the bottle has been opened. The same bottle of whiski becomes 4, 6, or 8+ different bottles over multiple years after the bottle has been opened. At this point I seldom review a bottle because I now consider a review at any given opened bottle time frame to be of rather limited significance. I now emphasize enjoying the whiski with others in the NOW. I continue to stress that if you are not drinking at the same time and from the same bottle of the whiski in question as someone else, then you are not drinking the same whiski as someone else who is drinking from a bottle with the same label on it. Leave a bottle of whiski around in your cabinet for another couple of months and that Old Dog may do some New Tricks. What are your experiences with seeing your open bottles of whiski evolve and change?

18 days ago

11 replies

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

I have much less experience than you do, of course, and nowadays I routinely gas my bottles but I’m not sure that gassing completely stops evolution in the bottle.

I know that my first bottle of Amrut IS seemed to go flat after a year or so, before I discovered gas.

In contrast, I was not too impressed with my first bottles of Springbank 12 CS and 12 YO claret wood. But about a year later I liked them a lot. Not sure if it was my palate or the whisky evolving.

Similarly, when I first tried my Bruichladdich the laddie classic, I was not wowed. By the time I came close to the end.... I wished I could find more.

18 days ago 4Who liked this?

@OdysseusUnbound

I left a few bottles at our “cottage” over the winter and there were significant changes when I sampled some last weekend. Most noticeable was the improvement in my bottle of Jack Daniel’s Old No.7. Time seemed to calm down some of the banana notes and allowed the walnut and semi-sweet chocolate chips to come forward. The one that stands out the most however remains my bottle of Weller 12 which was nigh on undrinkable for over a year and became much better after about 16 months or so of air time.

18 days ago 4Who liked this?

@BlueNote
BlueNote replied

I think sometimes it's a combination of changes in the bottle and changes in one's palate, mood or expectations on any given day. I have no doubt that whisky changes in the bottle after opening and the passing of time, sometimes for the better, sometimes not. My general rule is that everything deserves a second, or third, or fourth chance. Actually as many chances as it takes to empty the bottle. grin

18 days ago 4Who liked this?

@BlueNote
BlueNote replied

@Nozinan So, Lambertus does not improve with air and time? stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes

18 days ago 2Who liked this?

MRick replied

@Nozinan I rarely add water to whisky, but I have found that when a bottle goes flat from age, a small addition of water seems to perk it up. Perhaps it is not flat, merely sleeping?

18 days ago 3Who liked this?

@Victor
Victor replied

@MRick one of my favourite tricks to perk up a flaccid old bottle of malt (or bourbon) is to add a little wood-aged rum. The rum gives backbone. I use rums with 8+ years of wood aging for this purpose. The rum spirit itself is relatively neutral and has very little influence on the flavours. It is the wood aging that accomplishes the purpose.

For old flaccid sherried malts the same can be accomplished using a high quality CS sherry bomb malt. The only caution here is that high quality CS sherry bomb malts are expensive, and you better be sure that the flaccid malt you are saving is worth the investment of your first rate sherry bomb stock.

18 days ago 4Who liked this?

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge replied

@Victor, @MRick, some days it's not the bottle, it's me. I have found that when I'm certain it is the bottle, there are very view "flat" spirits that can't be improved with a few drops of good sherry. I add the sherry to a pour, not the bottle, just in case.

Down to my last bottle of John Hall’s Sherry, the same stuff that caused Michael Jackson to take notice of the good whisky being created at Forty Creek/Kittling Ridge.

18 days ago 4Who liked this?

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@OdysseusUnbound

@Victor I’d say it depends on which rum you’re using. Not all rum spirit is neutral; some of the Jamaican pot still rums are quite characterful even when unaged. Column still rums, like column still whiski, tends to need proper wood aging to develop more character. My take-away: pot stills are better than column stills. stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye

18 days ago 1Who liked this?

@Victor
Victor replied

@OdysseusUnbound i agree with you. I almost went back after my last post to make much the same comments that you are making now. As with choosing which product to put into a cocktail recipe the exact choice of ingredients for doctoring your debilitated bottle makes a very big difference in the final outcome.

17 days ago 2Who liked this?

MRick replied

Think of it as the addition of a flavouring whisky. I have some old Opimian PX Sherry that might be worth a try.

17 days ago 2Who liked this?

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