I have mentioned Steve Ury’s (Sku) website, RecentEats, before. His site covers a lot of ground about whiskey (global) and food – it’s always a great read. Steve’s post today was exceptional. He did an experiment for a number of years to determine if open whiskey deteriorated over time. Check it out HERE.
My take: I’ve communicated about this topic with many of you. I believe strongly that whiskey does deteriorate if left in half empty (or less) bottles for extended periods of time. It’s not unlike fruit that is left to over ripen on a kitchen counter. The whiskey softens, loses structure, and the spice and bite is reduced tremendously. In short, the character and integrity is altered some.
What can you do about it? I try to consume open bottles within 3-4 months. It’s a great reason to invite some friends over and share a good bottle. But what if you can’t do that? My next suggestion is to purchase 4oz and 2oz Boston Round bottles with screw caps. You can purchase them from companies like Specialty Bottle on the internet. All you need beyond that are some labels and a small funnel from a kitchen supply store.
Once you consume opened bottles down to half or less, simply funnel into a couple of 4oz and/or 2oz bottles. You’ll have to eyeball it, but once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty easy. If you have an ounce left over, well I’m sure you’ll figure out something to do with it. ; ) Once you’ve re-bottled, simply label it so you’ll know you’re drinking Elijah Craig 12 Year Old (or whatever) months or years later. I also place a date on the label so I can inventory accordingly. That sounds complicated but it’s really not.
The investment is pretty small (approximately $10 for 20 2oz bottles) and it will keep you from blazing through stock. And obviously the bottles are easily reused after a thorough washing. Be certain to dry completely and quickly to prevent mildew from ruining your whiskey. The other nice benefit is the 2oz bottles are a convenient single serving size.
Kudo’s to Steve for going to great lengths for this experiment. That’s what I call dedication! It also deserves “Whiskey Public Service Announcement” designation.