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Old 11-06-2007, 01:07 AM   #11
angelsword
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I find that it has to do with degree of oxidation. A certain amount of oxidation is essential to the maturation process. It has to do with the length of the chain of molecules. Long chains should be retained while short chains are welcome to leave. But oxidation is essential to the formation of long chains.
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Old 11-06-2007, 01:38 AM   #12
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I find that it has to do with degree of oxidation. A certain amount of oxidation is essential to the maturation process. It has to do with the length of the chain of molecules. Long chains should be retained while short chains are welcome to leave. But oxidation is essential to the formation of long chains.
Relatively speaking.
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Old 11-06-2007, 08:40 AM   #13
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I'm curious about this. In the end, does oxidation cause more difference than the changes inherent between batches? Does the oxidation cause worse changes, better changes, or simply different changes?
This gets too deep for me and doesn't allow for the reality that change is inevitable.

Something I think I read into that Edward has, I believe, implied many times without hurting any distillery's or person's feelings is that spirits are not very consistent over long periods of time - sometimes over short periods. How did I come to that conclusion? The reformatting of profiles discussions. The "it used to taste great but is pedestrian these days" vs. "it was terrible but is now approachable" etc.

Honestly, I've learned enough that if I bump into a rum that is truly spectacular right now, I'd tuck away several bottles. I know it's just a matter of time before there will be some uncontrollable change, even if it is minimal. Rather than blame anyone, I chalk the variations up as evolution.
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Old 11-06-2007, 10:42 AM   #14
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I do wish we had this discussion at an earlier date! I have some rums that have been opened for some time, but luckily, some of the bottles are still pretty full. I am going to refer to my old tasting notes to see if some of them have changed much. Some time ago Ed suggested keeping a note book, which I started. I date all my tastings, so that should give me a time frame.
I am going to try the inert gas approach, like Scottes. I have to slow down this process a little.
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Old 11-06-2007, 12:35 PM   #15
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I found that I have 2 bottles of Cruzan Single Barrel. One is brand new, opened 2 weeks ago with an inch missing. The other is probably 2 years old, and was about 1/3-1/2 full before we drank some recently. I'll have to compare them soon.
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Old 11-06-2007, 12:37 PM   #16
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This ... doesn't allow for the reality that change is inevitable.
Actually, that is exactly what I'm contemplating! It changes from oxidation, and it changes from batch to batch. Which changes more?
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Old 11-06-2007, 02:58 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Matusalem View Post

Something I think I read into that Edward has, I believe, implied many times without hurting any distillery's or person's feelings is that spirits are not very consistent over long periods of time - sometimes over short periods.
Please don't read too much into what I write. The spirits distillers bottle change over time, it is inevitable. The good news is that the quality of rums being bottled by rum distillers today is generally the highest in their history. Sure you can't buy some of that 17 year old rum from Appleton referenced in some other threads, but generally, the quality of rums bottled today by the Appleton Estate and other distillers is higher than in the past. The fermentation process has been improved, the distillation process has been improved and the aging process has been refined. Not to mention the fact that most distillers today are using sophisticated electronic equipment like gas chromatographs to monitor and improve the quality control of their products.

Another ingredient in raising the quality of spirits, whether distillers want to admit it or not, is the internet. Today consumers are more educated and informed about the spirits they drink than any time in the history of alcoholic beverage consumption.

On the other hand, there are blenders who see the boom in rum sales as an opportunity to bottle whatever they can to make a profit. Some bottlers start by bottling the best blend they can make but as their product reaches greater distribution they are forced to compromise quality due to the decreased availability of the aged spirit on which they built their reputation.

Once the product is bottled another process begins. Bottled spirits don't appreciably change when properly bottled, ie sealed. Open bottles of spirit oxidize as a function of the level of liquid in the bottle, when and how often the bottle has been opened, how much the bottle has been agitated, the velocity of air moving over the opening on top of the bottle, the effective open area on the bottle, the shape of the bottle and the ambient temperature, to name a few.

If this sounds complicated, it is. I spent the better part of three months in a graduate chemical engineering course calculating the alcohol content of an open bottle of rum on a Caribbean island with respect to time. Suffice it to say that the equation is quite complicated even if you assume that many factors are constant or simply ignored.

What is more important to this discussion is the fact that oxidation and reduced alcohol content contribute to a deterioration or improvement in the taste of a spirit, depending on your perception of taste. I can't tell you which is the best rum, that depends on what you like. What I can tell you is that an open bottle of rum changes with time and a few of the factors are the quality of the seal, temperature and volume in the bottle.

Temperature?

The volatility of alcohol and other compounds found in a bottle of rum are directly proportional to the temperature of the spirit. I used to store my rum in a cabinet over a refrigerator because I could easily reach the cabinet and it was out of the way until I discovered that it was much warmer than the rest of the cabinets in the kitchen.

So what's a rum lover, collector, drinker to do? Enjoy the spirits you like. A few of my friends buy two bottles of almost everything they find. They open one bottle and if they like it they savor it. If they think someone else would appreciate it more than they do they have another bottle to trade. Trying to save the last couple of inches of liquid in a bottle is probably less than the optimal way to enjoy a distilled spirit.
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Old 11-06-2007, 07:16 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward Hamilton View Post
Trying to save the last couple of inches of liquid in a bottle is probably less than the optimal way to enjoy a distilled spirit.
Your bottom line IS the bottom line.
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Old 11-06-2007, 08:56 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward Hamilton View Post
Please don't read too much into what I write. The spirits distillers bottle change over time, it is inevitable. The good news is that the quality of rums being bottled by rum distillers today is generally the highest in their history.
Trust me, I have not read any further than what you've said eloquently & without offense.

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Originally Posted by Scottes View Post
Actually, that is exactly what I'm contemplating! It changes from oxidation, and it changes from batch to batch. Which changes more?
Scottes,

I can't for the life of me figure out how you'll eliminate the other couple of thousand variables and isolate rusty ole' oxidization.

Have you considered all the natural and unnatural factors that you'd have to rule out as being responsible for alteration between batch leaps? Everything from global warming to hurricanes to Diageo sucking up or selling off the product line (to name one large conglomerate), to the wood, water or cane sources being altered? There's more but let's stop there.
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Old 11-06-2007, 09:43 PM   #20
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I am not trying to isolate or eliminate anything. I am trying to discern the amount of difference between the two things. I don't care how or why, but simply how much.

If oxidation causes less detrimental taste change than the taste change caused by different batches then why would I be concerned about oxidation?
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