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Old 11-06-2007, 09:04 PM   #21
Scottes
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I have 2 bottles of Cruzan Single Barrel. I've had one, bottle number 130182, for at least 2 years, and it has spent at least 1.5 years half full in a cool basement. The other bottle, number 331292, was purchased 2 weeks ago and has spent 2 weeks with 3 or 4 ounces removed.

The older bottle smells sharper from alcohol, but sweeter, with maple aromas, and a subtle touch of spice. The new bottle is rather bland, really.

The older bottle tastes sweeter, with some spice in mid-taste, and a long smooth spicy finish. The new bottle taste is good, but certainly more bland than the older one, less sweet, with a medium-length finish with some spice and a mild amount of burn.

The older bottle is much better, in my opinion. The taste difference is actually quite substantial. Though obviously the same type of rum made by the same distiller, the older bottle tastes like it has been aged significantly longer.


So was the taste difference caused by oxidation? Or by the fact that they're from 2 batches made some time apart. I don't know because I don't have an unopened bottle from the same batch as the older one.

2 bottles allows one to explore the taste difference caused by oxidation OR the taste difference caused by the difference in batches. 3 bottles would allow a comparison of both.


Regardless of why these bottles taste different, I know that I will share the new one and hoard the old one.
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Old 11-06-2007, 09:43 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottes View Post
If oxidation causes less detrimental taste change than the taste change caused by different batches then why would I be concerned about oxidation?
What we're calling oxidation and the loss of flavor from opened bottles of our favorite spirit is controllable, to at least some extent, by proper storage. The variance of spirits due to differences in batches, on the other hand, is more in the hands of the shareholders of the distillers, blending and bottling companies.

I have to look pretty hard to find something to hate in this life, but when I pull a bottle of rum out of my locker and find that it has lost a lot of good flavor and alcohol because it was improperly stored I know I have failed those who have dedicated their lives to making my favorite spirit and hope they don't hate me for it. Next time I'll try harder to either store that bottle properly, or just enjoy it with friends while it is still at its peak.

The moral of the story is that distilled spirits require care just as you won't expect a bottle of wine to last once it has been opened, neither should you expect a good bottle of rum to last forever once it has been opened.
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Old 11-07-2007, 09:15 AM   #23
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Ed,

You've certainly started a minor panic at our bar with this thread, which is fascinating, thank you.

We have over 230 rums now, all stored on shelves in an unlicensed bar - meaning we have no customers so consume slowly in tastings/training etc. We've got some special products (Wray & Nephew 17 year old, Zacapa 30 yr, Silver Label 28 yr Demerera) all oxidising slowly on display.

The IPBartenders team will have to think about storage.......or rapid consumption

hmmmmmmmm
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Old 11-07-2007, 10:22 AM   #24
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Don't panic Paul. I'm saving my air miles and will be on my way to help you and the rest of the staff responsibly consume everything which is less than 25% full. But there are a few other bars I didn't get to visit where I know there are other bottles which also need to be responsibly consumed.
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Old 11-07-2007, 10:27 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottes View Post
I have 2 bottles of Cruzan Single Barrel. I've had one, bottle number 130182, for at least 2 years, and it has spent at least 1.5 years half full in a cool basement. The other bottle, number 331292, was purchased 2 weeks ago and has spent 2 weeks with 3 or 4 ounces removed.

The older bottle smells sharper from alcohol, but sweeter, with maple aromas, and a subtle touch of spice. The new bottle is rather bland, really.

The older bottle tastes sweeter, with some spice in mid-taste, and a long smooth spicy finish. The new bottle taste is good, but certainly more bland than the older one, less sweet, with a medium-length finish with some spice and a mild amount of burn.

The older bottle is much better, in my opinion. The taste difference is actually quite substantial. Though obviously the same type of rum made by the same distiller, the older bottle tastes like it has been aged significantly longer.


So was the taste difference caused by oxidation? Or by the fact that they're from 2 batches made some time apart. I don't know because I don't have an unopened bottle from the same batch as the older one.
After reading the above post again I suspect that the taste difference you are noticing in the two bottles of Cruzan Single Barrel is due more to a change in the blend of that label than due to oxidation though I find the newer blend sweeter but less interesting than some of their older blends of that product.
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Old 11-07-2007, 01:44 PM   #26
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Scottes,

I apologize - I have no intention of attacking your experiments. I was just confused what you planned to use to establish a basis of what changes were the results of oxidization - especially without having two bottles of what you believed were same batch rum to work from.

At this point I assume you re going to establish what you believe is the results of oxidization from prior notes or your memory of the spirit's previous samples? Is that correct?

Speaking of storage issues, my favorite occurs at bars and raunts that have the flashy full wall of glass right along the sidewalk... with hundreds of spirits lining the shelves against the glass... my favorite time to see this is when there's a local heat spell and the sun is gleaming through the spirits beaming off the heads of customers lining the counter top - particularly with the high-end spirits it just fills my heart.

I dislike vodka with a passion... but at those times vodka seems quite attractive if I were to reach into my pocket to purchase a drink at one of the said establishments.:eek:

My second favorite is at least 4 or 5 times a year at Costco I have to find a stock person to inform it isn't a good idea to leave the pallet full of Remy Martin X.O. or Johnnie Walker Blue with the boxes flat so that bottles are laid down resting with the spirit gnawing at the cork ~ like one would store a decent wine.
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Old 11-07-2007, 01:55 PM   #27
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My second favorite is at least 4 or 5 times a year at Costco I have to find a stock person to inform it isn't a good idea to leave the pallet full of Remy Martin X.O. or Johnnie Walker Blue with the boxes flat so that bottles are laid down resting with the spirit gnawing at the cork ~ like one would store a decent wine.
Actually, I store rum bottles with corks on their side so the cork doesn't dry out and leak and it seems to work better than leaving them upright with the cork inevitably drying out and letting the alcohol evaporate.

I save synthetic wine corks and reuse them in rum bottles. The quality of cork has suffered with the general growth of the wine industry and the environmental pressures on cork growing regions of the world.
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Old 11-07-2007, 03:32 PM   #28
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Over a period of time the alcohol will attack and deteriorate a cork, Edward. Wines are lower in percentage - thus it's fine to lay them.

Instead, I lay a bottle down momentarily to ensure that the cork receives some moisture, then upright them immediately after. This ritual occurs every two-three weeks or so.
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Old 11-07-2007, 05:57 PM   #29
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Quote:
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At this point I assume you re going to establish what you believe is the results of oxidization from prior notes or your memory of the spirit's previous samples? Is that correct?
Your implication is insulting.


So my thought would be to grab a bottle of something decent with some complexity. Ron Zacapa 23 is probably not a good choice due to its Solera blending. Cruzan Single Barrel is probably not a good choice since it seems likely to change drastically between batches. So I'd pick something with enough complexity to detect distinct changes. Something like El Dorado 15 perhaps?

Get 3 bottles - 1 about 4oz and 2 about 8oz.

Gently, with as little aeration as possible, fill the 4oz bottle to the very very top, so that some rum spills out when it's corked. (The idea is to produce the smallest air space possible). Cork it, seal it with wax, place it in a cool space outside of the light. This is the control bottle.

Fill one of the 8oz bottles half way, and use one of the inert gas systems to fill the head space with inert gas. Store it in an intelligent place where such things might normally get stored. Not in the cabinet above the stove, but not in the dark basement space along with the control bottle either. Something mid-way reasonable. This is the "inert gas" bottle.

Fill the other 8oz bottle half way. Cork it, and place it next to the previous 8oz bottle. This is the "oxidized" bottle.

Leave all bottles alone for 1 year, except that you might want to open the "oxidized" bottle occasionally in order to get more oxidation. Maybe. Then go out and get another brand-new bottle, doing your best to get one from a different batch.

Sample all four side-by-side. This would give you a couple data points, and an idea of 2 more.
Point 1) Results of oxidation by comparing the control to the oxidized.
Point 2) Reduction of oxidation by comparing the inert gas to the control.
Idea 1) Difference between batches by comparing the control to the new batch.
Idea 2) Amount of difference between oxidation and batches by comparing oxidized to the new batch.

No, not all the variables are eliminated, but most are with the original bottle at least.

Last edited by Scottes; 11-07-2007 at 11:39 PM.
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Old 11-07-2007, 06:14 PM   #30
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Instead of an 8 oz bottle half full I'd use the original 750ml bottle which would accelerate the oxidation process. And I'd open it occasionally and shake it up before resealing it.

Or easier yet, go to a bar like Trader Vic's where they have a few bottles that have been sitting around for a long time with only a small bit of rum in them, taste one of these and you'll notice a very flat taste, that is oxidation damage.
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