Bottles of Booze are great, but nothing says “class” quite like a decanter. At least that’s what TV, movies and print media have lead me to believe over the years. Everything from classic movies to neo-classic characters like Jack Donaghy have relied on the austere nature of a decanter to breed a sense of sophistication and mystery. What’s in the decanter? If you have to ask then you can’t have any – that’s what I’ve taken away from these character tropes and images over the years.
I always imagined James Bond would have one in his condo (he’s away far too often to have a house with a yard and all that) and if you somehow got asked over for drinks he would pour you something tasty from an elegantly displayed decanter and If you dared ask what it was you’d promptly be defenestrated. So when the Whiskey Decanter Co. offered to send me a couple of their models to take for a test drive how could I refuse?
I’ve owned various whiskey decanters in my drinking life and I enjoyed them both for the same 2 reasons: How they looked and how they made me feel. How they look is important because they’re made to be displayed, but how they make you feel is at least, if not more, important than how they physically look in their chosen storage location. With these two aspects in mind I took to the challenge of being a decanter drinker for a month. To try it on and see how it fits.
This one looked beautiful and while it was heavy as all get out when full it felt amazing to pour a glass from after a long day at work. I felt like I was an Alec Baldwin character (30 Rock or Glengarry… take your pick) everytime I poured from it. I also felt like if I had continued using it I would end up with the forearms of a Greek God or a Spinach guzzling cartoon. It was awesome.
This one felt more Atlas Shrugged and less Citizen Cain to me. It feels great, has a good heft and held 1 full bottle easily (compared to the 1 1/2 the SoHo was built for). As fate would have it I already owned glasses that matched it so it looks great sitting on my liquor cabinet, which it’s doing right now.
I had some friends over while test driving this one and bringing it to the table with the incidentally matching glasses prompted cat calls, ooh-la-las and exclamations of “Well hello Mr. Fancy Pants.” I know my friends… they were jealous.
Having something that looks neat to display your whiskey is all well and good, but you might be wondering if there’s a practical reason why one might want to decant their whiskey. The answer is yes, yes there is.
Some whiskeys, especially older ones (talking duties here, but age wise too), can actually benefit from being decanted. Same with cask strength and especially with sulfured whiskeys. It can help them open up and in the case of sulfured whisky it can help a lot of that sulfury funk blow off quicker. Though you have to be careful because too much air, for too long, can oxidize your whiskey and negatively impact the flavor and aroma.
To be frank, you shouldn’t use a decanter for long-term storage. Most decanters aren’t fully air-tight and should be used for whiskey you plan to drink on a regular basis. That way you’ll go through it before oxidization has a chance to degrade your whiskey, which can happen in just a few months depending on the air to whiskey ratio in the bottle.
If you’re interested in adding a touch of class to your drinking check out WhiskeyDecanters.Net and see if they have something that floats your boat. If you’re already a decanter user post a pic of your decanter on Twitter or Instagram and mention @TheWhiskeyJug – I’d love to see it. Until next time, you stay classy internet.