Friday, January 12, 2018

Should You Decant Your Whiskey?

Doesn't that look nice? Sure, but does decanting do anything for the whiskey?

With some wine, decanting prepares the wine for serving. It does this in two ways. First, proper decanting keeps sediment in the bottle. Second, it aerates the wine. Neither is an issue with whiskey.

Because we call the second container a decanter, people tend to apply the wine analogy. Whiskey is more robust than wine. There is very little you can do to hurt it or help it. Decanting whiskey has no practical value.

So why decant whiskey? The sole reason is so you can serve it from an attractive decanter rather than a tacky bottle.

It is more about decorating than drinking, which is not to say decorating is a trivial thing.

To personalize this, I have a lot of whiskey around the house. Some of it is in cabinets but some is out in the open, in several different rooms, in bottles. Sometimes I wish I was the guy who keeps a nice decanter of fine bourbon on a silver tray with a few matching glasses, on a spiffy side table in my elegantly furnished sitting room. Maybe two decanters, the other one with the house cognac.

In my imagination it is a Victorian scene, but there are modern equivalents.

For better or worse, I am not that guy.

If you are that person, I salute you. I may not practice elegance, but I respect it. There is nothing wrong with decanting, but don't believe anyone who says it affects the whiskey one way or the other. It doesn't.

From a lifestyle perspective, maybe the way you enjoy whiskey (or any fine spirit) is to buy a bottle, drink it until it is gone, then buy another one of the same or different provenance. If you are that person, the decanter model works great for you. Again, there are times when I wish I was that person, but I'm not. If you are, God bless you. That is a perfectly fine way to be too.

So, to decant or not? As with most whiskey-related questions, the only right answer is to do what pleases you most.

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