We all love the appearance of whiskey in a decanter. But what is the best whiskey to put in a decanter? Most whiskey brands have dark bottles, thus having a decanter enables you and your esteemed guests to appreciate the texture, color, and sometimes aroma of your whiskey.
In this article, we will use our ten-year experience as a liquor store and other experts’ tips to explain the best bourbon to put in a decanter. We will not only give you the type of whiskey to put in a decanter but also describe the decanter that goes well with each whiskey. Finally, we will recommend some of the best decanters in the market today to make your whiskey service fun and presentable.
Wine especially red wine is the alcoholic drink that is mostly stored and served in a lead-free decanter but that does not exclude whiskey, tequila, brandy, vodka, cognac, and scotch from being stored in the decanter. You can store your bourbon in a decanter such as our favorite Lighten Life Whiskey Decanter.
Even as you proceed, note that we do not recommend long-term storage of whiskey in a decanter. This is because oxygen will go into the decanter reducing the life and quality of the whisky contained within through oxidation. Let’s start with the list of the best whiskey to put in a decanter.
Best whiskey to put in a decanter
Whiskey lovers always look for a way to elevate their drinking experience. One of the best ways to do so is by storing their whiskey in a decanter. Decanters are beautiful and elegant glass containers that are used to store and serve beverages, including whiskey.
Not only do they add to the aesthetic of the bar, but they also enhance the flavor of the whiskey by allowing it to breathe. High alcohol-content liquors do well in a decanter.
Here are the 7 best whiskeys to put in a decanter:
1. Maker’s Mark 46
This bourbon is known for its smooth and complex flavor profile. It has notes of vanilla, caramel, and oak that are further accentuated by storing it in a decanter. Maker’s Mark 46 can last for up to 6 months in a decanter without any significant change in its flavor profile.
Maker’s Mark 46 is a bourbon whiskey that is finished to maturity in ideal conditions in a limestone cellar. The unique finishing process involves fitting ten seared French oak staves into the barrel, which results in a more elevated experience for the drinker. This extra aging period with the special oak staves gives Maker’s Mark 46 a well-rounded sip with a more complex flavor profile compared to other bourbons.
On the nose, Maker’s Mark 46 has scents that are fragrant and inviting, with notes of caramel, vanilla, and baking spices that greet the palate in layers. The aroma is not as rich as the taste, but it sets the stage for the flavors to come. The mouthfeel is smooth, with a slight warmth that is characteristic of a high-proof whiskey.
In terms of flavor, Maker’s Mark 46 is decently rich and varied, with notes of caramel, vanilla, and baking spices that are prominent on the palate. The flavors are well-balanced, creating a harmonious sip that is easy to enjoy. Despite the richness of the flavors, Maker’s Mark 46 is not overly sweet or heavy, making it an ideal choice for those who prefer a well-rounded, easy-to-sip whiskey.
With a proof of 94 which is 47% alcohol by volume, Maker’s Mark 46 is a well-balanced and robust whiskey that offers a unique drinking experience. The reasonable price point makes it an excellent value for those looking for a high-quality, yet affordable, bourbon. Whether you are a seasoned whiskey drinker or just starting to explore the bourbon world, Maker’s Mark 46 is a must-try that offers a complex and satisfying taste.
2. Bulleit Bourbon
This bourbon is known for its high-rye content that gives it a unique, spicy flavor. Storing it in a decanter will bring out its rich and bold flavors, making it an even more enjoyable sipping experience. Bulleit Bourbon can last for up to 2 months in a decanter without any noticeable change in its taste.
The drink is an American whisky classified as American bourbon whisky havings 45% alcohol by volume or 90 proof. It is produced at Bulleit Distillery in Lebanon, Kentucky owned by Diageo.
You will love its subtle and complex nature that is derived from the unique blend of rye, corn, and barley malt. The ingredients are brewed using special strains of yeast and pure water from Kentucky.
The main reason why the Bulleit Bourbon does well in a decanter is the unique russet color which makes it attractive. It features a rich, oaky aroma that accompanies the dry and clean flavor. The resultant mouth feel is mellow and smooth meaning you will not feel the hot taste in the throat.
3. Glenlivet 12-Year-Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky
This single-malt scotch is a popular choice among whiskey connoisseurs. Its delicate wide variety of balanced flavor profiles of honey, fruit, and spice can be further enhanced by storing it in a decanter.
The Glenlivet Distillery whiskey was first produced by George Smith in the remote Livet Valley in the heart of Scotland’s Speyside region in 1824. The distillery is currently owned by the French alcoholic beverages company Pernod Ricard.
Glenlivet 12-Year-Old can last for up to 6 months in a decanter without losing its quality. The blended Scottish whiskey has 80-proof of alcohol (40% ABV).
The drink is a classic Speyside single malt characterized by a balanced and elegant flavor profile. You will love the citrusy, honeysuckle, and vanilla flavors. Therefore it is a delicately balanced great liquor for lovers of non-smokey flavored whiskey.
The color of this favorite of mine is Bright, vibrant gold which essentially looks elegant in a decanter that gives you a long, creamy, and smooth finish. This is because the liquor is matured in both European and American oak casks.
4. The Macallan 12-Year-Old Sherry Oak Single Malt Scotch Whisky
This single malt scotch has a rich and complex flavor profile, with notes of sherry, oak, and spice. Storing it in a decanter will bring out its full flavor profile and make it an even more enjoyable sipping experience. The Macallan 12-Year-Old can last for up to 6 months in a decanter without any noticeable change in its taste.
The single malt whiskey is matured exclusively in hand-picked casks to give you a deliciously smooth flavor, with rich dried fruits and sherry, balanced with woodsmoke and spice.
Therefore the Macallan 12-year fits very well in a decanter since it is a classic sherry–cask-matured Speyside. The brewery is committed to the mastery of wood and spirit to mature the whiskey for a minimum of 12 years in Sherry oak casks from Spain producing an elegant whiskey.
The dark natural color from acorn to glass wood policy makes the whiskey a favorite for a decanter. An additional point is an aroma that is of vanilla with a hint of ginger, dried fruits, sherry sweetness, and wood smoke.
5. Woodford Reserve Double-Oaked Bourbon
This American bourbon whiskey bourbon is known for its unique double-oaking process that gives it a rich and complex flavor profile. Storing it in a decanter will bring out its enjoyable and deep flavors of vanilla, honey apple, spices, caramel, and oak, making it a truly enjoyable sipping experience.
Woodford Reserve Double Oaked can last for up to 2 months in a decanter without any significant change in its flavor profile and the very pleasant-smelling bourbon. The innovative twice-barrelled bourbon gives your brew a rich and colorful flavor in a 90-proof whiskey (45% ABV).
Storing the brew in a decanter gives your guest a view of the deep amber color that you notice even before you experience the soft, sweet oak character which is accentuated by light charring.
The speculation is that the bourbon lasts 6 years in the first barrel and another year maturing in the second. This makes this a beauty to see and a wonderful taste to experience.
6. Glenfiddich 18-Year-Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky
This single malt scotch is known for its complex flavor profile, with notes of fruit, honey, and spice. Storing it in a decanter will bring out its full flavor profile, making it an even more enjoyable sipping experience.
Glenfiddich 18-Year-Old can last for up to 6 months in a decanter without losing its quality. In a decanter, you will experience the dark gold color that comes from the distillation and 18 years of maturation.
Like most bourbons, the Glenfiddich 18-year whiskey has 40% ABV which is 80-proof of alcohol. The proof and the taste on the palate give you candied fruits which is a balanced richer note of dried apricot, more cinnamon, toffee, ginger, and dry Sherry.
The rich and enjoyable single malt has a dry chocolate flake-y wood and cinnamon taste. It gives you peels and salted toffee finish making it a drink for every occasion.
7. Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Select Tennessee Whiskey
This Tennessee whiskey is known for its smooth and complex flavor profile, with notes of vanilla, caramel, and oak. Storing it in a decanter will bring out its full flavor profile, making it an even more enjoyable sipping experience.
Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Select can last for up to 2 months in a decanter without any noticeable change in its taste.
The liquor is hand-selected from the highest reaches of the barrel house since the whiskey and white oak barrels are affected most by Lynchburg’s distinct climate. Thereafter the liquor is bottled in the smallest of batches, just one barrel at a time.
The final Tennessee whiskey is a 90-proof liquor (45% ABV) with robust character and subtle notes of banana bread, caramel, and spice.
Decanters allow the whiskey to breathe, which can enhance its flavor profile by exposing it to air. Additionally, decanting the whiskey helps to remove any impurities that may be present, making the whiskey.
Does Bourbon go bad when stored in a decanter?
If your decanter has an airtight seal, then the whiskey can not go bad if stored in it. An airtight seal reduces exposure to air which causes the oxidation of whiskey.
However, other than an airtight seal, there are things to consider when whiskey is stored in a decanter to ensure the bourbon does not go bad:
- Ensure you do not open the decanter very often: Opening the decanter very open or leaving the decanter open for a period of time exposes the whiskey to air which can lead to oxidation. If you are opening the decanter very often, ensure that you consume it within a day or two.
- Minimize the temperature fluctuations: As stated in the description above, when whiskey is stored in a lead-free decanter, it can last for two months to three years depending on the alcohol content. However, temperature variations in the whiskey can cause faster degradation of the whiskey. Store your whiskey in a decanter at a temperature of between 12 and 20° C (55-68° F). You can consider refrigerating your whiskey or storing it in a freezer but it makes the whiskey less flavorful.
- Do not expose the decanter to light especially sunlight for a long time: Ultraviolet rays are one of the major enemies of any alcoholic drinks. Exposing your whiskey in a decanter to direct sunlight markedly reduces its usable life.
- Keep the humidity in the right range: Humidity levels of between 50% to 70% are recommended for whiskey storage in a decanter. Therefore, if you are storing your bourbon in a decanter, it is necessary to store it in a humidity-controlled room to keep it fresh for longer.
All in all, it is important to note that spirits stored in a decanter can last as long as the spirits stored in the original glass bottle thus several years, unlike wines which should only be used within a few days if stored in a decanter.
The decanter will serve two major purposes for whiskey: it allows the aromas to oxidize as well as to look more appealing compared to when served in a branded bottle. The other purposes will be described below.
Reasons Why You Should Use a Whiskey Decanter
Whiskey decanters are not only aesthetically pleasing but also serve several practical purposes. Here are six reasons why you should consider using a whiskey decanter.
- Elegant Display: Whiskey decanters make a great addition to any bar or shelf, adding an air of sophistication and elegance to your collection. The classic design of a twisted decanter and heavy crystal glasses provides the perfect setting to share a drink with friends.
- Controlled Intake: Having a 750ml decanter on display allows you to limit the amount of whiskey that your guests consume, ensuring that they sip, rather than chug, your precious liquor.
- Mysterious Tasting: Serve your guests’ whiskey from a decanter that doesn’t have a label, and keep them guessing about the type and age of the whiskey they are drinking. You can also create your own whiskey blend by combining different types of whiskey and storing them in different decanters.
- Custom Blends: For the adventurous whiskey aficionado, blending different types of whiskey can result in a unique and personalized taste. Just make sure to use decanters of different styles to store each blend.
- No Aging Needed: Unlike wine, whiskey doesn’t mature in its original bottle and can be stored in a decanter without affecting its flavor. As long as the decanter has an airtight seal, your whiskey will remain the same age and have the same flavor as it would in its original bottle. Just make sure to opt for a lead-free crystal to avoid the risk of lead leaching into your whiskey.
- Preserving Quality: A whiskey decanter is ideal for storage as it helps preserve the life and quality of your whiskey. Oxygen is the enemy of whiskey, and an open bottle will allow air to interact with your whiskey, reducing its quality over time. A decanter that’s kept topped up will minimize the air interacting with your whiskey, extending its life and preserving its quality. A decanter that holds 34 oz. or more and has a quality stopper, like Lighten Life Whiskey Decanters, is a great option.
A whiskey decanter is more than just a beautiful display piece. It provides practical solutions to preserve the life and quality of your whiskey and add an element of mystery to your tasting sessions. So why not add a decanter or two to your collection today?
Other than the whiskeys described above which are excellent for storage in a decanter, you can also put the following bourbons in a decanter.
- Really cheap whiskey: You can put a really cheap whiskey in a decanter to disguise the type of whiskey.
- Whiskey that you are not proud of: This includes after a party where you get a collection of whiskey bottles that you may not be proud of. Moreover, you can mix the different collections of whiskeys from the party to create a ‘cuvee’ that most guests will appreciate as a special blend.
- Whiskey in a huge bottle such as jeroboam: Whiskey that is sold in large quantities can be stored in a decanter to ensure you do not expose the whole bottle to air.