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Posts posted by tedious

  1. Thanks Hassouni - minis aren't a bad idea!  I was thinking of asking Master of Malt if they use anything special, and / or are willing to sell their vials.  They seem a friendly enough bunch.


    Actually, the main thing I want to sample is whisk(e)y, which I believe starts out on the acidic side - so possibly this is only a concern with PH neutral or alkaline spirits.  Although I wonder if it can affect taste even if it doesn't affect the container.


    May have to do some experiments with PH strips.

  2. Does anyone have any recommendations for storing spirit samples (possibly for long periods - i.e.  years)?  Amazon sell lab sample bottles.  I figured lab sample bottles should be decent quality, seal well etc.  For example:




    These are apparently soda-lime glass to a standard called "USP Type III".


    I thought mechanical/thermal properties aside, glass was glass was glass.  However, doing a little research I found this article on Wikipedia noting that glass for holding distilled spirits is specifically "dealkalized" to prevent the alcohol leaching alkali from the glass, becoming more alkaline, and eventually reaching a point that it can attack the glass: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dealkalization


    Again, according to that article Type III glass is not dealkalized (Type II is).


    In short, I'm wondering if it's necessary to be careful with glass selection for long-term storage of alcohol, or if this a theoretical concern that might be relevant in pharmacology only.


    Quick edit... ...guess that I could PH test a sample on the way in, wait a few years, and re-test to get an idea of how much (if any) change was occurring.  But that takes a few years to get an answer...

  3. Interesting replies, thanks.  Perhaps I'm naive, but I'd hope that the big names wouldn't knowingly dump obviously sub-standard product - the conglomerates behind them seem to spend an awful lot on building the brands.  It's undoubtedly true that higher-end stuff can move slowly.


    I'd love to know the typical price at each step in the chain of, say, a $60 single malt.  But I don't imagine the participants would be in a hurry to tell me (and I appreciate J_Ozzy's point - discounts / kickbacks / promotions etc may make a real "per bottle" price hard to determine).

  4. Not strictly a question about the liquid itself or its qualities, but hope you'll indulge me.


    My local retailer (Binny's) is currently offering Laphroaig 18 Year Old for ~$60.  Typically goes for more than $100.

    An even more extreme example: a couple of years ago, Spec's was offering Aberfeldy 21 Year Old for $40 (currently retails at $150 plus).


    I'm curious as to how such enormous discounts are possible.  The two options I can think of are:


    1. The regular store margin is enormous (and perhaps there is usually some kind of "minimum advertised price" deal in play to protect the brand's premium)

    2. The distributor and / or producer heavily discounts from time to time to get the product to a wider audience in hopes of making new "regulars"


    I like the product, but know next to nothing about the economics.  Any of the industry folks here have any insight?

  5. There is a recipe in Andrew Whitley's (excellent) 'Bread Matters'. OK, that doesn't meet your requirement for having personally tested it, but the author certainly knows rye breads intimately (I can vouch for the bread recipes!) and is also something of a Russophile. It involves a rye sourdough starter, which might put you off immediately.

    My copy of the book is currently in transit, and I'm not sure if eGullet house rules would permit posting the recipe anyway. However, it's already out there if you Google.

  6. I recently came across the same remark in Pacult's 'Kindred Spirits' and was immediately crestfallen. How could anyone hope to build even a basic spirits collection for their home bar if the quality starts to turn for the worse within a few months of the first pour?

    Exactly my thinking. :sad:

    Vermouth, I realise, is a different animal - my own experiments agreed with the popular wisdom. The difference is clearly detectable though, to be honest, I didn't find a couple of weeks of oxidisation desperately unpleasant.

    But I'm really concerned about the hard liquor keeping for a good couple of years - especially the expensive stuff!

  7. I recently began building a home bar - the liquids, that is, not the horizontal surface - from scratch. I've been picking up a bottle or two a week for a few months and sampling most of them on arrival. Some of these are fairly expensive - particularly the brown 'sipping' spirits. It has occurred to me that if I continue accumulating at the current rate, and if I continue opening to taste-test as I go, I will wind up with bottles which may remain unfinished for several years. This is because, in the interests of variety, I'm buying much faster than I (and any guests of sufficiently sophisticated tastes) will consume.

    This got me researching shelf-life, and on F. Paul Pacult's 'Spirit Journal' site I noticed the following remark:

    I personally don't leave bottles of spirits unconsumed for longer than two to three months at the very longest. I notice dramatic differences after a month or more.

    Wow. A month? Even if two or three months are 'safe', I probably don't want to have more than one or two really good bottles open at a time, and that rather screws up the possibility of offering visitors / myself an interesting choice. And then there's all the non-sipping stuff which may be sitting open after making various cocktails.

    So, I'm wondering what the experiences of others here are. Is Mr Pacult overly pessimistic or cautious? Does it vary for different spirit (sub-)categories? Obviously, you can take it as read that all bottles are carefully resealed, in the dark, and away from direct heat. In an ideal world I'd do this the scientific way using a batch of bottles bought at the same time, but one Ardbeg Uigeadail is quite expensive enough. Especially since the experiment is premised on the possibility of ruining most of it...

    I did search the forums, and found only one short discussion on this. Most of that related to literally open bottles (rather than opened bottles). But feel free to flame me if this FAQ #1 and I'm missing the obvious.

    By the way, first post. Thanks all for the great resource which I've been dipping into for quite a while.

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