Bourbon Real Talk Oxygen/Light/Heat Split Test
Two years ago I purchased 4 bottles of whiskey. I mixed all 4 bottles together to eliminate any batch variance. I filled 1/2 oz sample bottles, capped them, put them in a ziplock bag, stored them in a temperature controlled environment, with no exposure to light. Then I filled the four bottles back up, but only half way. One I capped and left it untouched in a temperature controlled environment with no exposure to light. The second I gassed with argon preservative spray, then I capped it and left it untouched in a temperature controlled environment with no exposure to light. The third I have been pouring around a 2 oz pour out of one time per week, then pouring it back into the bottles, cycling out the air. I stored it in a temperature controlled environment with no exposure to light. The fourth I have been pouring around a 2 oz pour out of one time per week, then pouring it back into the bottles, but before I capped it I gassed it with argon preservative spray every week. I stored it in a temperature controlled environment with no exposure to light. I also took some of the original whiskey and filled up two 375 ml storage bottles, capped them, and wrapped the lids with parafilm. One I stored in my garage wrapped in brown paper bags so that it had full exposure to the massive temperature swings in Texas, but no exposure to oxygen or light. The second I stored in a window seal inside my home, so it is exposed to light but not major temperature swings or oxygen.
So we have a control (no oxygen, light, heat), oxygen once/no light/no heat, oxygen once with argon/no light/no heat, oxygen 104 times/no light/no heat, oxygen and argon 104 times/no light/ no heat, full heat/no oxygen/no light, full light/no oxygen/no heat. The purpose of this experiment is to see what effect if any oxygen, light, and heat has on whiskey over an extended period of time, and if argon gas has any effect on the degradation of whiskey.
I have attempted to assemble all of the industries most recognized experts to taste these samples, record their results, and hopefully settle once and for all how concerned whiskey enthusiasts need to be about open bottles. First taste your control sample (labelled with the letter C) and give it a score on a 100 point scale. Typical scores would be 70-100, anything below 70 would be reserved for something you absolutely would not drink. Then give each blind sample a score and attempt to guess which treatment that sample was exposed to. In doing so we will be able to establish if the whiskey improved in flavor or degraded, and identify if there is a flavor produced by this treatment that experienced drinkers are able to recognize.
If you want to do this tasting with someone else present, or you happen to not finish your samples and you would like to pass them along to someone else feel free to do so. Try to select people who's results would be accepted as an expert opinion by the whiskey enthusiast community.
Thank you for participating in this study!