Is it OK to decant bourbon?

Answered by Douglas Hiatt

It is absolutely okay to decant bourbon! Decanting bourbon can actually be a wonderful way to enhance your drinking experience. While some people may prefer to drink bourbon straight from the bottle, decanting can bring several benefits that might be worth exploring.

Decanting bourbon allows for aeration, which can help open up the flavors and aromas of the spirit. Similar to wine, when bourbon is exposed to air, it can undergo a subtle chemical reaction that can enhance its taste. This process is known as oxidation. By decanting, you are giving the bourbon a chance to breathe and develop more complexity.

Moreover, decanting bourbon can also be a visually appealing way to display and serve your favorite spirit. Transferring the bourbon into a beautiful decanter can elevate the overall drinking experience, especially when entertaining guests or simply treating yourself to a special occasion.

To decant bourbon, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind. First, choose a decanter that is made of high-quality glass and has a tight-fitting stopper or lid to prevent evaporation. It’s also important to ensure that the decanter is clean and free from any residue or odors that could affect the flavor of the bourbon.

When decanting the bourbon, pour it slowly and carefully into the decanter, being mindful not to introduce too much air or create excessive splashing. It’s best to decant the entire bottle at once to maintain consistency in flavor. Once decanted, it is generally recommended to let the bourbon sit for a short period of time before enjoying it, allowing it to settle and aerate further.

While decanting can enhance the flavors and presentation of bourbon, it’s important to note that bourbon is generally less reactive to oxygen compared to wine. This means that the flavor profile of bourbon won’t change significantly whether it is stored in a decanter or the original bottle it came in. However, the visual appeal and the potential for slight aeration can still make decanting bourbon a worthwhile experience.

Personal experience-wise, I have decanted bourbon on several occasions and have found it to be a delightful way to appreciate the spirit. The act of pouring the bourbon into a decanter adds a level of elegance and sophistication to the drinking experience. Additionally, I have noticed subtle changes in the aroma and taste of the bourbon after it has been decanted, making it a more enjoyable and nuanced experience overall.

Decanting bourbon is perfectly acceptable and can enhance your overall enjoyment of the spirit. While the flavor profile won’t change significantly, decanting allows for aeration and can add visual appeal to your drinking experience. So go ahead, pour your favorite bourbon into a beautiful decanter and savor the moment. Cheers!