Decanters are used to hold liquids and help by separating sediment from the liquid, especially in wine. Decanters are also used to aerate the wine, allowing it to breathe and increasing the oxidation process. For wine, this helps bring out different aromas before drinking.
Whiskey decanters are also great to add to any home collection but don’t have the same extent of changes mentioned for wine decanting since the whiskey is pretty stable once bottled. Whiskey doesn’t interact the same way wine does with oxygen. For the most part, whiskey decanters are really for looks.
While mainly aesthetic, leaving whiskey in a decanter may cause some condensation to build up on the sides of the decanter.
Condensation inside a whiskey decanter occurs because of temperature fluctuations that occur in your home as well as interaction with the air and liquid inside the decanter. This is not a bad thing for the whiskey and indicates that the seal on your decanter is solid and airtight.
Keep reading to learn more about whiskey decanter condensation and tips on how to prevent it.
What Causes Condensation Inside the Whiskey Decanter?
Condensation happens when the temperature inside of the whiskey decanter, specifically the air, is cooler than the air temperature outside the decanter. The air inside the decanter and the whiskey interact, causing the build-up of droplets. This is partly due to the temperature fluctuations from your heater and air conditioning.
We’re used to seeing condensation occur on the outside of glass cups, for example, if drinking cold beverages with ice inside, or on the outside of a cold soda can. This happens when hot air comes into contact with the cold beverage. The dew point is reached and droplets begin to form.
How to Prevent and Get Rid of Condensation
If you notice that condensation is building up, the best thing to do is move the whiskey decanter itself to a different part of the house where the air temperature doesn’t fluctuate much. Keeping it at a stable temperature in a relatively cool, dark area should help out.
However, if you see condensation and want to drink it right away, the ideal scenario is that you swish the whiskey around a little bit to mix it back up. If you end up pouring out a glass of whiskey without swishing it around first, you may not get the same flavor profile and ABV level that you’re used to.
Condensation is not a big deal for whiskey. And since whiskey is pretty stable, a little condensation won’t change the whiskey too much.
How Long Can You Leave Whiskey in a Decanter?
You can leave whiskey in a decanter for a long time, years even. The decanter will pretty much do the same job as the original bottle in keeping its quality. The decanter itself won’t change the flavor or alcohol content. But you want to make sure that you have a pretty decent seal on top or else the alcohol can slowly evaporate.
While it is perfectly fine to leave your whiskey inside a decanter for long periods of time, it is not a good idea to leave whiskey in a stainless steel flask. Decanters are typically made of glass or lead-free crystal and are good at preserving the whiskey. On the other hand, keeping whiskey inside a stainless steel flask for more than a couple of days will dramatically ruin the quality of the whiskey.
If you want to read more about the risk of leaving whiskey inside a stainless steel flask for a long time, check out the article Does Whiskey in a Flask Go Bad?
Will Whiskey Evaporate in a Decanter?
Whiskey evaporation from a decanter will depend on how tight the seal is. Some decanters are held in only by gravity, so don’t have as tight of a seal compared to the original bottle. Other types of decanters actually need to be forced on and off and have a really tight seal. The better the seal between the cap and the decanter, the lesser the possibility of whiskey evaporating.
And if condensation is building up in the decanter, it is a sign that the seal is airtight.
Since whiskey is pretty stable, flavor changes and quality won’t degrade over time. However, whether in a decanter or the original bottle, you always want to keep whiskey away from direct sunlight because that will dramatically reduce how good it is.
What Other Liquors Cause Condensation in Decanters?
Like whiskey, other spirits including brandy and gin can also be kept in a decanter. Condensation for any liquor, whether a distilled spirit or wine, can build up inside. But this really isn’t a huge issue.
Mixing up the liquid, whether wine or spirit, inside the decanter or moving it to a different location where the temperature is stable will do the trick of getting rid of the condensation.
You can leave hard liquors inside the decanter indefinitely since their stability and high alcohol content won’t degrade over time. If you’re using a decanter for wine, it will only stay stable for a couple of days.
Decanters are a great aesthetic to add to any home bar. The design and shape will surely be an eye-catching conversation starter.
Condensation can build up in a whiskey decanter whenever there are fluctuations in temperature. Condensation can even happen inside an unopened bottle of whiskey, which seems to occur in plastic bottles more often than glass bottles. This phenomenon won’t change the flavor or quality of the whiskey.
If you want to read more about the interesting properties of whiskey, read the article Is Whiskey Acidic?
Keeping your whiskey decanter in an area that doesn’t have much temperature fluctuation, away from heating and cooling vents, should take care of the problem. Don’t sweat it (no pun intended)! And if you do see a build-up, then you can just swish the whiskey around in the decanter to get rid of the condensation.