We all know the feeling: We’ve gone down to the dregs of a great bottle of malt and we wish we could preserve it. Well, why don’t we? It’s actually really simple to do so and there are two ways:
1: Some people always buy three bottles (or more). One to drink, one to keep and one to swap. This is the best case scenario but obviously doesn’t work for everyone given the massive investment, money-wise and in storage space required.
2: Just decant some into sample bottles and build your own archive.
Let’s explore the possibilities of option number two a little further:
Every time you open a new bottle of whisky, decant some into a small sample bottle. I recommend using fresh, quality glass bottles with tight caps and of 2-5 cl in volume. If you want to be double sure, seal them with wax, paraffin or Parafilm and store them in your own personal archive space. Do not forget to label them properly including the year the bottle was bought/filled in as they could end up being stowed away for decades. I really recommend filling the samples from fresh bottles because of the oxidation going on, especially once it’s been opened multiple times over the course of a few months or even years.
Well, now that we’ve filled our sample bottles, what do we do with them?
Well, I think anybody who’s been enjoying whisky for a number of years knows the discussions about whisky having been better way back when or about cask and batch variations and so on. While this doesn’t allow you to sample older whiskies right away it will present you with plenty of opportunities in the coming years and decades.
You’ve got the feeling the 15-year-old standard expression from distillery XYZ was much more fruity 10 years ago? Well, just pull that old sample from your archives and double-check. You want to taste five different single cask drams from one distillery side by side? Check your sample archive. You want to share the great malt you had to celebrate the birth of your child 18 years later together with your offspring? Pull it from your archive.
Building your own archive takes time, dedication and a bit of space. But I’m sure you’ll be rewarded in the long run. What’s your opinion? Do you want to build your own archive? Have you already started? Let me know in the comments section below.