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Ageing An UNOPENED Bottle


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#1 Matt S

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 05:50 PM

I have read a lot about storing opened bottles for ageing purposes, but cannot find any information about storing UNOPENED bottles away, and what effect it would have on the Absinthe.
Would it still age well, if at all? I am guessing it would, but just not as quickly as an opened bottle.
Cheers

#2 Père Ubu

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 05:59 PM

Yes, but extremely slow. For my purpose, where I will age a bottle for a year or so, I take out 2-3 ounces, shake it, and forget it.

#3 Matt S

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 08:53 PM

I have noticed that Perroquet has a unique feature, here's a quote from the Emile Pernot website:

"NEW! Now available in a thick tinted 75 cl bottle containing 70 cl of Perroquet absinthe, the remaining 5 cl guarantee an oxygenation and a perpetual maturation of the absinthe and its wine alcohol, as well as a progressive ageing in the bottle."

Not bad huh?

#4 Père Ubu

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 09:06 PM

That spirits and wines in most countries are sold in 75cl bottles, but in France by law only wine can be sold in quantities of 75cl, while spirits are sold in 70cl quantities, sure is convenient. ;)
Some absinthes are aged by the distillers, which explains my pavlovian reaction to gold color liquid. Sauvage, BC, and L'Anciene are some I know of the top of my head.

#5 Matt S

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 09:19 PM

Hmmm, interesting about the different quantitiy regulations. Thanks for the info.

#6 TheLoucheyMonster!

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 09:46 PM

Brian has some storage advise in the first post of the "Answers to newcomer questions" thread:
http://wormwoodsocie...omer-questions/

#7 Harlequin

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 01:02 AM

I read that I should age my small bottle of La Sorciere Verte. Does aging make a difference in taste?

Edited by Harlequin, 10 January 2013 - 01:06 AM.


#8 Brian Robinson

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 04:20 AM

Yes.
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#9 fingerpickinblue

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 04:34 AM

I have noticed that Perroquet has a unique feature, here's a quote from the Emile Pernot website:

"NEW! Now available in a thick tinted 75 cl bottle containing 70 cl of Perroquet absinthe, the remaining 5 cl guarantee an oxygenation and a perpetual maturation of the absinthe and its wine alcohol, as well as a progressive ageing in the bottle."

Not bad huh?


Not bad, if you buy the premise. Not sure I do. All you're talking about here is an extra 50 ml of airspace in the bottle. With a heavy wax seal, that should effectively eliminate any future oxygen transfer in to the bottle. So the net result is that you can oxidize the O2 in the bottle once. There has got to be oxygenation techniques a producer can use before or while bottling that would have the same results. As far as the "perpetual maturation of the absinthe and its wine alcohol, as well as a progressive ageing in the bottle", that was going to happen anyway.

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#10 Ian McCarthy

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 01:34 PM

This is nothing new in the world of wine, but there becomes something of a traditionalist v. modernist argument. I am willing to bet that most absinthe distillers would walk on the traditional side of the road.

http://en.wikipedia....icrooxygenation

#11 fingerpickinblue

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 02:15 PM

Like this?

Gotta love that term "Micro-oxygenation" too. Just about as over done (or under done, depending on your point of view) as "Molecular" gastronomy or mixology. As if the alternative of bonding 3,000,000,000 molecule chunks of O2 at a time exists.
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#12 Harlequin

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 12:19 AM

Yes.


:)

The simple answer. I am sure it will probably be good in a year or so...but does absinthe lose taste at a certain point? Like a vintage absinthe? I should check out some reviews. One thing about absinthe I like is that a bottle lasts me from six months to a year.

#13 Brian Robinson

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 03:52 AM

I've never tasted a bland vintage, if that's what you mean. All of the flavors are still there, as all of the component essential oils are still present. They just become more 'melded', and develop a cognac type backbone of old books and leather. Wonderful stuff.
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#14 gfpoet

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 12:03 PM

I have a bottle of 2006 Edouard that I have in the basement with the wax still on the cork.
So far, 7 years. Waiting until maybe 10 or as long as I can.
Can't wait to open it now and see what happens.

#15 Brian Robinson

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 12:13 PM

I just had a taste of my Eddy from '05 which has been resting after initially opening it in '06. It's still fantastic, and seems to get nothing but better with age. Still green too.
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#16 Jack Griffin

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 04:36 PM

I have some Eddy from 3 years ago. It's actually improved quite a bit, and there's still 1/3 left in the bottle. Jades seem to like air.

#17 Matt S

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 04:58 AM

So my Mansinthe is now about 5 months old and does not seem to be responding well to ageing. The nose is very alcoholic now and its become quite bitter.

#18 fingerpickinblue

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 05:26 AM

I have an open bottle of Mansinthe that I believe was produced in 2008 (if the printed code on the back label means anything). I do know I've had the bottle since later 2008. Recently I tasted some Mansinthe at a local bar that is presumably more recent production (I know they got those bottles in the last 3-4 months) and one of my observations was that the wormwood is much rougher and more bitter in character than the bottle I have. I've been wanting to take my bottle there to do a side-by-side which I will do one of these days. The bottom line at this point, though, is that the last couple of times I've tasted the stuff at the bar, I've walked away wondering if they're loosing some of their quality control grip on it.
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#19 Brian Robinson

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 08:01 AM

It's a strange thing, with wormwood. I've noticed (and several other experts have corroborated this) that there is a strange aging curve with many absinthes. It can start nice and fresh, with a wonderful wormwood flavor, then about a year or so into aging, the wormwood can become 'sweaty' or otherwise distasteful. Then, after about another year, it smooths back out again, and resumes its 'good' aging.

I can't explain it, but I've experienced it with many brands.

My advice is to let it keep aging and see how it progresses.
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#20 Jack Griffin

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 08:20 AM

I too have noticed this. When I think something is a bit off, after a year or more, it often becomes more enjoyable.
Between the variations in bases, herb bill interactions and alcohol levels, it would be quite a task trying to figure out why.

#21 Absomphe

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 09:31 AM

Then there is the interesting (albeit singular, as far as I'm aware) example of a recipe that called for a proportionately greater than typical amount of wormwood, and which contained solely Lambrook Silver.

In this case, the longer it aged, the more iodine-like and aggressive it became, even after as long as six years of resting.

Edited by Absomphe, 17 January 2013 - 09:35 AM.

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#22 Stefano Rossoni

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 11:52 AM

Spirits are supposed to be bottled in 70cl bottles not just in France but in most if not all EU countries.
The problem with this is that most glassware companies offer 70cl bottles on demand only, they never keep them in stock. The minimum order you can place is usually 10000 bottles, and if you are distilling 300 bottles batches sell less than one batch a year like me (I'm sure other absinthe distillers are luckier but I doubt there are many who can sell 10000 bottles a year) investing buying 10000 bottles at once is not an option. The bottle I eventually used for L'Italienne was the only one available in small quantities (and I checked with a lot of suppliers all over Italy) because someone placed an order and they had leftovers.
Another issue is that even if you can find someone who is willing to sell you a smaller amount of bottles, or you use the bottle for different products, orders this small are REALLY expensive. You have to understand that 10000 bottles for any other product that is not absinthe is an incredibly small number. The distilliery I was working with in Italy was a small family run business focusing on a niche product (genepi) and they still sold around 400000 bottles a year. To give you an idea the bottles we use for La Grenouille are almost €2 per bottle.
Wine bottles, on the other hand, are readily available in any quantity if you are ok with a standard shape, because the suppliers keep a big stock of the most common ones so you can buy a few hundreds with no problem. Also the prices are a lot lower: for a standard wine bottle you can expect to pay something around €0,2 per bottle. The only problem with wine bottles is that they are 75cl and in EU you are not allowed to sell 75cl bottles of spirits. But you can go around the law and fill up a 75cl bottle with just 70cl of spirit, so that technically it's not illegal to sell.

Now the idea of storing absinthe in a container that is not entirely full, so that the extra air will speed up the resting time is not wrong per se; I've always been storing my absinthes is steel barrels or demijohns that were not entirely full for the resting time before the bottling, most of the times simply because the vessels were bigger than the volume of the batch. If you are properly resting the absinthe in the distillery before bottling though, there is no need to also leave some air in the bottle, considering that after the 4-6 months of rest there is in my experience no difference between the aging of the absinthe stored in a full vessel vs the one stored in the 3/4 full vessel.

Now I'm perfectly aware that it's a common practice to try to transform a flaw in a plus with marketing, but while I have nothing to object when it comes to mass marketed products, I can't hide that I find it quite irritating to see this in the absinthe world.
But hey I'm the one who's not selling squat so what do I know?

#23 Père Ubu

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 12:33 PM

Thanks for the info. I agree with you, which is why I don't do/get marketing. I engineer in an abscure cubicle, and kept away from the front. :)

#24 Jack Griffin

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 01:59 PM

Stefano, you keep making, I keep buying... You have quite a few die-hard fans.

#25 Evan Camomile

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 02:38 PM

But hey I'm the one who's not selling squat so what do I know?

I'd say you know enough to share the truth with the public, which means you know more than most.

The info is greatly appreciated. Those of us stateside rarely get a glimpse at how EU regulations shape the industry over there.

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#26 Absomphe

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 03:24 PM

Stefano, you keep making, I keep buying... You have quite a few die-hard fans.


That sums it up beautifully for me.

Yes, I'm Krinkles the Clown on an absinthe a beer bender.

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#27 Garrett

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Posted 14 August 2013 - 09:33 PM

So I have started my aging collection... I wish i would have started earlier and with better quality (I was a newbie and that's all that I could get locally and I was am bit by the antique bug so thats where I spent my money...) but thats another issue.  

 

Currently I have kept my hands off and started aging bottles of (in cool temperatures, bottles up, out of sunlight under at my bar):

Vieux Carre (stored March 2012)

Leopold Bros (stored March 2012)

Kübler (stored March 2012)

St. George (stored August 2012)

 

Newbies

La Berthe De Joux (stored July 2013)

Jade VS 1898 (date on bottle January 2013)

Jade 1901 (date on bottle June 2013)

 

So my question is what are some good choices to add to my aging collection? I have read the review page, but am specifically interested in what is/might be a good 'aged' absinthe which may or may not be the best reviewed absinthes. My strategy from here on out is to by 2 of everything... drink one :cheerz: and then age one  :wheelchair:.

 

Any suggestions would be much appreciated. 


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#28 Ambear

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 08:35 AM

The more I learn about aging food, the more my thought process on this has changed. Some things I've observed from food:

 

A lot of finding what ages well is trial and error. Some people open a bottle, dislike it, come back to it later, and found that it's better than they remembered. This may not be the case with all absinthes, or the difference may not even be noticeable.

 

In selecting what to age, think of it this way: you can (and some people do!) age beer. You could age any beer you want, but a Miller Lite isn't going to get better with age. On the other hand cellaring a beer that's already REALLY nice can improve it. Where it's possible that a century or even a few decades of "aging" an absinthe could improve a mediocre absinthe's qualities, after 2-5 years, you're not going to turn your turds into gold.

 

To continue to compare with beer, those that are of a higher ABV tend to store better/last longer, so absinthes with lower alcohol like blanches or Obsello may not "last" as long, but that may be desirable for this reason: once the compounds in the absinthe begin to change flavor, that flavor MAY taste good. It could also taste bad. I got to the bottom of bottle of Obsello 1 after owning it for about a year...it had definitely begun to change, but it was a tasty change. Again, it's about experimenting with it.

 

My experience with a few different "aged" absinthes hasn't shown much, but I think I'd really need to do a side by side comparison of an aged absinthe and a new absinthe to tell the difference. Not only that, but absinthe producers who make many batches continue to improve their skills, get better ingredients, tweak their recipe slightly, etc. This means that if I had cellared (for example) a bottle of Pacifique 3 years ago, it might not be anywhere near as good as what came out of Marc's stills last month.

 

Basically, I just like keeping a few bottles of quality absinthe hidden away (especially the limited edition stuff) for later because it's nice having a backstock of "the good stuff". I also have a bunch of bottles of shitty absinthe that I don't really enjoy drinking, and I'm not fooling myself by thinking they're gonna get better because they're sitting untouched for a few years.


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#29 Larspeart

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 10:33 AM

I'll echo a few of Ambear's comments above, and state a few of my own.

 

Due to absinthe's incredibly high alcohol content, it preserves extremely well.  The flip to that is that 'it preserves extremely well'.  In my opinion, an UNopened bottle of absinthe is going to change remarkably little over any realistic time period.  Does a bottle of 1890 preban take on different notes, and even perhaps improve from when it was originally bottled?  Possibly (though you'll never know what it tasted like in 1890, so even an experienced preban drinker like Brian can't say that they improve- honestly).  Will a bottle that you bought last year taste markedly better now?  Next year?  3 years down the road?  I highly doubt it.  I'd even venture that if you thought it did taste noticeably better, this was more psychological than actual. 


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#30 Ambear

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 11:09 AM

I think that's why in some thread somewhere (and I wanna say it was Brian) differentiated between AGING a bottle of absinthe and RESTING a bottle of absinthe. Sometimes a new absinthe needs a little time in the bottle to round out, or even an absinthe that was recently run through the postal wringer needs a little rest to "settle", and may show some slight improvements. This is also a case-by-case, experimental thing.


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