Author Topic: Open Bourbon Shelf Life  (Read 3534 times)

Offline ndcube

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Open Bourbon Shelf Life
« on: February 26, 2010, 03:47:43 PM »
For those bourbon drinkers... Does bourbon oxidize like beer?  How long is an open bottle good for?

I've searched some bourbon forums and got some varying answers that basically amounted to months as long as it's not near empty.

What are your experiences?

Offline nicneufeld

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Re: Open Bourbon Shelf Life
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2010, 06:28:00 PM »
On a general spirits level, I've not noticed really tangible oxidation in bottles I have owned for years.  At least I found them enjoyable, even after several years of being open.  Perhaps when in cask they were already slightly oxidised (these were cognac, spanish brandy, and scotch whisky).  In regard to bourbon, I've never had a bottle open for more than a few months, but I doubt its much different. 

The key is of course letting your tastebuds guide you.  Don't down the bottle just because some folks recommend not letting it stay open for a period of time.  Enjoy it, and if you note the spirit seems to start to go "downhill", then next time, you can enjoy it more quickly after opening.

Offline tygo

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Re: Open Bourbon Shelf Life
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2010, 06:37:49 PM »
I think you don't have anything to worry about unless it's been sitting there for a long time.  But I have no practical experience since I've never let a bottle sit around unfinished that long  ;D

My dad occasionally buys a bottle of scotch since he knows I like it when I'm planning on visiting.  If I let half a bottle sit there it's still good when I get back home the next time and it's usually six months or so between visits.  Unless my sister drinks it in the meantime.  So I wouldn't think you had much to worry about unless you were sippin on the same bottle for a year or two.
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Offline The Professor

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Re: Open Bourbon Shelf Life
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2010, 09:17:50 PM »
Oxidation is not a problem I'v e ever heard of with bourbon or other whiskeys.  From personal experience,  I can't say, since a bottle of bourbon or scotch around here rarely lasts more than a month or two. 

If anything, there might be a bit of evaporation, but of you store them capped or corked rather than with a pourspout, that probably isn't even an issue.

I'd say don't sweat it...
 
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Offline ndcube

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Re: Open Bourbon Shelf Life
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2010, 04:41:28 AM »
The key is of course letting your tastebuds guide you.  Don't down the bottle just because some folks recommend not letting it stay open for a period of time.  Enjoy it, and if you note the spirit seems to start to go "downhill", then next time, you can enjoy it more quickly after opening.

This was my thinking as well.

Thanks all for the replies.

Offline majorvices

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Re: Open Bourbon Shelf Life
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2010, 05:16:54 AM »
My suggestion is once you open a bottle of bourbon try to drink it all in one night, just in case.
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Offline ndcube

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Re: Open Bourbon Shelf Life
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2010, 10:46:55 AM »
My suggestion is once you open a bottle of bourbon try to drink it all in one night, just in case.

It'll last more than a night but it won't be around too long. ;)

I've never noticed any spirits going bad like others have said.  I guess I was just curious why it doesn't turn to cardboard like beer.

Offline a10t2

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Re: Open Bourbon Shelf Life
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2010, 11:33:02 AM »
Michael: And so you just finished off the bottle?

Lindsay: Well, I had to. It’s vodka. It goes bad once it’s opened.

Michael: I think that’s another one of Mom’s little fibs. You know, like “I’ll sacrifice anything for my children.”
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Open Bourbon Shelf Life
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2010, 05:42:44 PM »
My suggestion is once you open a bottle of bourbon try to drink it all in one night, just in case.

It'll last more than a night but it won't be around too long. ;)

I've never noticed any spirits going bad like others have said.  I guess I was just curious why it doesn't turn to cardboard like beer.

I've wondered the same thing: one thing I have noticed is some really old bottles of liquor leave a ring where there has beeen some evaporation. No idea what flavor characteristic this imparts, however.
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Offline babalu87

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Re: Open Bourbon Shelf Life
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2010, 06:29:24 PM »
My best man pulls the pour restrictor and throws the cap away anytime we open a bottle of  ta-killyah
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Offline tygo

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Re: Open Bourbon Shelf Life
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2010, 06:43:42 PM »
My best man pulls the pour restrictor and throws the cap away anytime we open a bottle of  ta-killyah

That used to be the signature saying of one of the guys I went to school with.  He'd go out and buy a handle of cheap vodka or rum, like Banker's Club (shudder) and say, "First thing you do when you open the bottle...throw the cap away."
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