In films we often see whiskey-drinking characters pouring a dram from an expensive looking crystal decanter, as opposed to straight from the bottle. While this may look pretty cool, there is some debate amongst whiskey lovers as to whether or not pouring your whiskey into a decanter is necessary. We take a look at whether or not you should be using a decanter for your whiskey.
Oxygen Exposure Doesn’t Affect Whiskey Like Wine
Decanting is a process best known by wine drinkers, who sometimes need to transfer wine from the bottle to a decanter in order to remove any sediment present in the drink and to introduce oxygen to the wine. Many wine drinkers believe that this helps to open up the flavour of the wine. However, whiskey doesn’t really gain anything from this exposure to oxygen. Pouring whiskey from the bottle into a decanter will do nothing to change the flavour. Of course, if you are keeping a decanter that’s only about a quarter-full of whiskey (and therefore, has a lot of air contact) for a very long period of time, then the effects of oxidisation may eventually impact on the whiskies flavour, but this will take far longer than it does with wine.
Whiskey Decanters Are For Aesthetics
A wine decanter is typically open, featuring plenty of pouring space and openings to ensure that the wine is thoroughly exposed to the air. They often have curved edges to help enhance this exposure. On the other hand, a whiskey decanter is typically more solid and square in shape, and most importantly, will feature a large glass topper to close the bottle. This tells us that oxygenating the whiskey is not a concern for whiskey drinkers, and therefore, decanting whiskey is largely down to the aesthetics.
So Why Are Decanters Used?
Decanters originate from a time in which bottling whisky wasn’t possible. Instead, decanters were taken straight to the barrel to be filled. Now, whiskey producers will bottle their drinks on site, making decanters largely redundant. Decanters are now almost solely used for aesthetic purposes, so if you like the look of them, and have a bottle of whiskey that you enjoy drinking fairly regularly, then there is no harm in transferring it to a more exciting looking receptacle!
What Decanter Should You Choose?
If you decide to transfer your whiskey into a decanter, then there are a few points which you need to consider.
Ensure your decanter has an airtight seal to reduce the contact with oxygen. While it won’t oxidise as wine does, the oxygen can still have an impact on the whiskey over time, so if you’re planning on keeping the whiskey in the decanter long-term, then it is important to have a strong seal.
The majority of crystal decanters now will be lead-free anyway, but it is always a good idea to make sure. Many lead crystal decanters look very nice and are appealing to those who are choosing to use a decanter for aesthetic reasons. However, storing whiskey in one of these decanters can cause lead to leech into the drink, which could prove damaging to your health.
If you are intending to store a whole bottle of whiskey in a decanter, then obviously the size of the decanter must reflect this. Most bottles of whiskey will be 750ml, so the decanter you choose must have a bigger capacity than this!
Whether you enjoy your whiskey poured from the bottle or from a decanter, we think the best way to drink it is when it is paired with a delicious cigar! We have a wide range of stogies available including Davidoff cigars and Montecristo cigars.