Decanting whiskey is a great way to enhance the taste of this amazing spirit. But it’s not as simple as pouring from one bottle into another. There are a few things you should know before decanting, especially if you don’t want your expensive scotch tasting like the inside of an old boot!
Whiskey is a type of liquor that is made from fermented grains. It typically has a smoky flavor and is often enjoyed by adults in cocktails or on the rocks. There are many different types of whiskey, each with its own unique flavor profile.
But for one reason or another, you may want or need to transfer it to another container, like a decanter. Read on to learn more about decanting whiskey.
What is decanting whiskey?
One way to enjoy whiskey is to decant it. Decanting whiskey is the process of pouring it from its original container into a separate vessel. This can be done to enhance the flavor of the whiskey or to remove any sediment that has settled at the bottom of the original bottle.
Pouring a new bottle of whiskey into a decanter may open up new flavor profiles. At the same time, sediment can ruin the flavor of your favorite whiskey.
Decanters are made from glass or crystal and are easier to clean and maintain than their plastic counterparts. Particularly if you plan on putting your whiskeys in a display case or on a shelf in your living room, glass decanters will be more presentable and impressive. You’ll also see less change from sunlight over time in glass bottles than in plastic ones (although any change is typically undesirable).
Unfortunately, decanters are also more prone to breaking than plastic bottles, so it’s important to be careful.
Why do people decant whiskey?
There are several reasons why someone would want to decant whiskey.
The most common reason is to separate the whiskey from any sediment that has settled at the bottom of the bottle over time. This is particularly true for older whiskeys or whiskeys that have been stored in less-than-ideal conditions. Maybe the cork top has broken into pieces and fallen into the original bottle, and now you don’t want to have pieces of cork floating around in your whiskey. Or maybe you’ve left the bottle open for a while and stuff has fallen in.
Another reason for decanting whiskey is for personal enjoyment or professionally in a bar setting. There are so many different types of decanters, most made of glass or crystal. This look adds some nostalgia to anyone’s home bar.
And a final reason is that maybe the top of your original whiskey bottle has broken and you can’t put the cap back on. A decanter is a great alternative.
When should you decant whiskey?
Many people assume that it is important to decant whiskey as soon as possible. But honestly, anytime is a good time to decant whiskey. You can decant it as soon as you open a new bottle or you can decant it and transfer it over after when you’ve had an opened bottle sitting on the shelf.
How do I properly clean a decanter?
Here are a few simple tips for pouring your bottle of whiskey into a clean decanter.
You’ll need to clean out the empty decanter first just in case there is any dust inside (if you’ve left the top of the decanter off). One way is simply using water then emptying it and leaving overnight for best results to make sure no water is present in the decanter once you pour the whiskey in.
Many people also use decanter beads to clean out their decanters. This is the recommended way to clean your decanters. Check out our article How Do Whiskey Decanter Cleaning Beads Work?
Once you’ve cleaned it, pour it slowly into a decanter. If you need to remove sediment from your whiskey, try using a strainer.
Decanters prevent evaporation and sediment
Once you have opened your whiskey, it is important to store it in a way that will keep it fresh and a decanter is a container specifically designed to do this. You want to make sure that the decanter has a tightly sealed top to ensure that your whiskey doesn’t evaporate and no additional sediment or dust enter.
At times, you may see some condensation in your whiskey decanter. To learn why this happens, read our article Why Does My Whiskey Decanter Have Condensation?
What type of decanter should I use?
Most liquor decanters are made of glass or crystal. This allows you to see the contents of the decanter and easily identify the liquor. It also makes it easy to pour a drink and is the best way to store your whiskey long-term.
Never store your whiskey for long periods in aluminum or metal containers, like flasks or reusable water bottles. While this is fine for a few days at the most, storing whiskey in metal is not recommended because it will significantly alter the taste and may even change the color. Here’s a suggested article to learn more about why this happens – Does Whiskey in a Flask Go Bad?
Where should I buy my whiskey decanter?
You can buy decanters at most liquor stores or online. If you’re looking for something with a very vintage aesthetic, check out antique shops to find one.
But let’s say you can’t find one you like yet and need a temporary solution because your original bottle is broken. If you’re waiting for the perfect whiskey decanter but you need to poor your whiskey out of the original bottle ASAP, consider mason jars for the time being.
You can buy these glass jars from most department stores. Make sure you get a sealable lid to put on the jar to ensure that no dirt or dust can get inside.
Decanting whiskey lets you transfer your whiskey into another vessel but still leaves you with the same original, rich flavor and color of your aged, high-quality spirit. Some people believe that the best time to decant your liquor is after it has been opened. They love the look of the decanter and can proudly display it on their mantle or personal bar. Others might need to do it out of necessity if sediment has collected at the bottom or the original bottle is broken.
If you’re a whiskey lover, chances are you’ve been toying with the idea of decanting your fine spirit into something more stylish. Time to take your decanting game up a notch.