I found out the hard way that having a large rum collection to be savored over a very long period of time can only lead to a rude awakening because rums begin to lose flavor after only three months. In the case of my sugar bombs (which are now all gone), I noticed a deterioration in flavor after four months. My bottle of Ron Cartavio Solera 12 is slightly more that two months old and is now half full. It no longer needs to breathe for an hour in the snifter, which is good, but I need to finish it within a few weeks. Oxidation is always the culprit as long as you keep the bottles in a cool and dark place. Pouring half full bottles into resealable empty Grolsh pint beer bottles and labeling them would also prevent deterioration in flavor, but that would be a pain in the neck. Has anyone else had problems with rums losing flavor after more than three months or is this just a marketing ploy created by some distillers?
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Hi Paul, I think your bottle loosing really fast the flavour, I know this effect on my bottles after years not months.
My own rule is, never have more then 15-20 bottles opened at once, if opened and the bottle has still over 60-70% liquid in, I store it not longer then 2-3 years, by 30-40% one year, lower level in 3-4 month.
Had a bottle with stuff I don’t like and tried it after 8 or 10 years again and this was fare to much, completely gone.
My shelf is in a shady room, no direct sunlight, 15°-25° Celsius, ca. 600 meters above sea level, in the countryside.
I don't know about the effect between non sugared and sugar bombs, but I keep an eye on.
There’s a huge different between a fresh opened bottle and one who is opened since month. Some rum is very tasty from the beginning, some needs more time.
How do you store you’re pearls ?
I live at only 26 feet above sea level whereby summers typically run 95 degrees Farenheit. I keep the air conditioner going constantly since I hate sweating. Once I got so many rums, many had to come out of the liquor cabinet that only holds two dozen or so bottles. I used an old custom made shelf that once held vinyl record albums. To block out the morning sunlight that tends to shine onto this shelf, I lean a folding card table against the front of all these rums. It's not pretty, but it works. Once a bottle is only half full, this must be nature's way of telling us to drink up. I now have 30 opened bottles of rums and 5 tequilas. Ironically, when I try a new rum that I rate below a 6, I hurry up and drink it to get it out of my sight and save my top rated rums for much later. This really should be the other way around.
This really should be the other way around ! Try to let them for a while and try them later, the most of the bad guys get a little smoother. Ok, ugly rum doesn’t get beautiful. If I rate them low I use it as a mixer (witch I've do with the Matusalem 23 yo)
I don't know how the low altitude and the high temperature effects the rum, I think this will.
And yes, avoid UV from direct sunlight and watch also the store you buy it.
Is someone here who lives higher than 1000 meters / 3000 feet ?
Oxidisation causes deterioration, so consider steralised glass beads.
Add them to the bottle to raise the level towards to stopper, thereby restricting the volume oif air inside the bottle, thereby decreasing the amount of potential oxidisation.
That’s a very interesting Idea, have you tried this, Keith ? And how are your experience?
To be honest, it's not my original idea. I read it on another Rum site some time ago, and it works.
The science behind oxidisation supports this therory and practice.
It's like putting a metal nail in water, leave it and it will rust. Pour oil on the water and it will slow the rust process. Less exposure to air, less oxidisation.
Hope this assists.
Lucky for me, I review all of my new rums on this site almost as soon as I bring them home. So all I had to do was look up my original reviews on ones that I still have in my collection to find the date each one was opened up. To my surprise, I have three of them that are more than six months old. Only the Plantation 3-Star Artisinal silver rum has more than half of it gone and it still tastes great. As for Eldorado 8 and Matusalem 15, both have very little missing from each bottle, so I expect no oxidation at all. This is not yet enough to conclude that oxidation mainly affects sugar bombs.
Back when I was a bourbon drinker, many of the collectors advised pumping nitrogen gas into the bottle to keep it from oxidizing. However, bourbon has the longest shelf life of all distilled spirits, so this may be overkill. However, when one has a sizable investment in distilled spirits and wants to savor it over a long period of time, one had better protect it.
Rare rum I buy always double or tripple, one for the shelf to drink, the others stored in a reinforced army box in the cellar, dark, dry and cold. So, I hope I'm able to drink my lovely Caronis when I'm retired.
I have not had the pleasure (or displeasure) of trying the now defunct rums from Caroni. Before you store some in your cellar, do your research to make sure you are choosing a great one. I heard that they range from stellar to downright pitiful. My lowest rated Plantation rum is only at a 5, which is not too bad at all. Sad to see Caroni go, even though I never had a chance to try any.
What about using a vacuum system just as the ones used for wine? (VacuVin for example) We always use it on opened wine bottles, but these wine bottles are only stored for a few days, not for months. Therefore I‘m not shure if the effect of vacuum lasts for months. Anyone tried that before?
After reading a very serious Tequila collector talking about how a couple of his $100+ bottles (one of which I have) had gone bad on him, I decided to undertake preserving my bottles by:
1) Using a gas canister of wine preserver to displace the air in the bottle ($10 at Total wine and should treat 120+ bottles).
2) Sealing the bottles I only rarely go to with Parafilm (laboratory sealing film) to prevent any air from coming in or alcohol from leaking out around a natural cork. I got a 250 ft roll (2 inches wide) for $20 on amazon. Using about 4 inches per bottle.
He said he has never had a bottle go bad on him while using this system, and sometimes goes years between opening some of them.
On another note, I was pleasantly surprised to find that my half empty bottle of Zacapa XO still tasted fine after being open for a few years. I did gas and seal it though.
I found a fine Mexican restaurant fairly close by that serves extra anejo tequilas by the ounce. So after three visits, I tried four servings of these premium tequilas with goals of buying one of them as a whole bottle to be savored for months. The candidates were Avion 44, Don Julio 1942, Jose Cuervo Reserva de Familia Extra Anejo, and Suerte 100. I will leave fellow reviewers to guess which one won enough of my love to buy a whole bottle for more than $100.
Well, this proud papa finally owned a bottle of premium extra anejo tequila!!! Then I looked up the shelf life of tequilas. Holy shit!!! Tequilas only last for TWO months!!! Rums last for four months and bourbons last forever. Life is just not fair!
My solution was to pour 16 ounces of my new extra anejo tequila into one of those resealable Grolsh beer bottles and sip slowly on what remained in the original bottle. That worked fine and got me up to my Alaskan trip in July. Well, when I got back from Alaska, I had to use that pint of extra anejo tequila to both celebrate a great trip and to finish killing off the internal parasites that I brought back home. Never again will I splurge for a whole bottle of extra anejo tequila. At least it did not go to waste!
Paul, I am curious to know where you came up with those numbers. I have never heard anything definitive about shelf life of liquors, and I have seen some discussions between some very knowledgeable people. I have also read a LOT of articles on the subject and rarely see any two that agree. Two months sounds like complete hooey, especially since I just opened a bottle of Casa Noble 5 yr single barrel anejo I first opened a little over 2 yrs ago for my 50th birthday. It still tastes as awesome as it did then - of course, it had only been drunk down a few ounces so there wasn't a lot of air space. There are so many factors that can go into a liquor going bad - among them fill level and loose corks (synthetic ones help with that). The method I have decided to use should keep the liquor as good as new - the wine preserver is an inert gas you spray into the bottle that is heavier than air and prevents oxygen from contacting the liquor, preventing oxidation. Sealing the bottle stops evaporation, which can be an issue with natural corks.
I would guess you chose the Suerte given how much you liked their regular selection before. I have a bottle of 1942 and I have been very underwhelmed every time I have had some. Very mild taste and a little too much burn for a $100 bottle. I had the Cuervo once in a bar and thought it was good, wasn't blown away but I don't know how old the bottle was. The stuff is pretty well regarded.
I can't think of anything I have ever drank that has been close to the Casa Noble 5 yr, the stuff is just that good. It helps that the blanco is fantastic and has a very unique flavor profile. I have a couple bottles of El Tesoro 70th anniversary that are legendary, but I have yet to find an occasion to open one.
Scott, all I did was go into Google and pose the question on shelf life of tequilas. I was not the only one asking that stupid question. As usual, one stupid question led to more stupid questions, which is how I found shelf lives for the other spirits including rum. Vodka has an infinite shelf life, but us rum drinkers could care less for vodka.
So how on earth can an upscale Mexican restaurant keep several bottles of extra anejo tequilas from going bad when people like me are the only ones ordering them? I reckon that the two month shelf life for tequilas is hooey like you said. However, once I plunked down $125 for my bottle of Jose Cuervo Reserva de Familia Extra Anejo, I was not about to let it go bad. On my first visit to this restaurant, I ordered it along with Avion 44. Eventually, the Avion 44 had a bitter after taste and I judged the regular Avion Anejo to be better (and cheaper). On the second visit, the Don Julio 1942 was just plain boring. On the third visit, the Suerte 100 was no better than the Suerte Anejo that I can get easily for $26. My choice of Jose Cuervo had the manager and wait staff all intrigued, especially when I told them how much that I had found out from multiple websites.
On another note, you are only 11 years younger than me. I turn 63 in a few weeks.
I meant do you still have the web page where you saw these numbers? As I said, I have seen many articles with many different numbers quoted and I place varying degrees of credibility on such things.
I have heard that some subtleties in blancos can be lost after being open a relatively short time. I recently revisitied a bottle of Corzo blanco which at first I thought was ok but a little mild - now it tastes like Tequila flavored vodka to me so that might have some validity. On the other hand I have some more aggressive blancos that still taste fine to me after being open a long time. That's not to say they taste exactly the same as they did, just that the flavors in these ones seem to be more durable.
I suspect this is what happened with a bottle of Artenom Anejo (NOM 1146) I got a few years ago. My friend and I had the same experience - we liked it a lot when we first got it, then later tasted nothing but wood. I am going to try mixing it with a good blanco later and see how it turns out.
A website I have been ordering from lately has the Cuervo for $100, which is the best price I have seen in years. I have been very tempted to get it with my recent orders, but have passed. Last order I got 2 bottles of Espolon XA on sale for $50 (usually $100). I was not expecting all that much as I find their blanco and repo to be good but not outstanding - but the XA is fantastic. Quite a lot of intensity and a good agave punch. This place has outstanding sale prices - I got the El Tesoro 70th for $60 a couple yrs ago, my friend had just paid $140 for one a year or so prior.
Scott, I forgot which websites stated that tequilas only last for two months. As for ordering any kind of booze, Louisiana forbids this. Old Towne Tequila in San Diego has the best prices and selection. The websites TasteTequila and Long Island Lou are a treasure trove of information on tequila.
I found out that tequilas and dry rums help me to lose weight, so I must thank you for steering me away from sugar bomb rums. I have two in my collection (ED12 and DRE), but they won't be opened for quite some time. I also accidentally wound up with another sugar bomb because I had thought that it was dry, Ron Centenario 20. I almost poured it down the toilet, but orange juice saved it.
Old Town has easily the best selection but Hi time (where I have been ordering for years) usually beats them on price. For example, the Espolon XA I just got on sale for $50 is $75 at Hi time and $90 at Old town. Casa Noble Anejo $49 at Hi time $55 at Old town. Pasote blanco $5 less. Old town does seem a lot more competitive these days though, in most cases within couple bucks on widely available Tequilas, it used to not even be close.
Unfortunately these days Hi time doesn't have the selection they used to, it seems like they are cutting back on tequila sales. G4 and terralta are two of the hot new brands, and Hitime only has the G4 repo while Old Town has both full lineups - and the repo is $4 less than Hi time.
I haven't looked at Long Island Lou in a while, last time I did he was still in his early stages. I use taste tequila's database all the time. Tequila.net used to be a great resource but seems to have fizzled, used to be a very active message board.
Scott, I picked up a bottle of Pasote Blanco this past Friday in Pensacola for only $37. It is the only blanco tequila that I like besides T1. I usually go for the anejos. Pasote Blanco is tequila in it's purest form. Long Island Lou has come a long way, but he highly favors blancos.
Most rum is cheap because it is made with the by-product of refining sugar. Tequila costs much more because it needs the agaves to be 10 years old before roasting. Avoid at all costs the ones that use 7 year old agaves and roasts them after grinding them through a diffuser. These companies will create an agave shortage in the future and jack up the prices even more. As for rhum agricole, try Sweet Crude dark rhum from Louisiana, but stay away from their white rhum. The distiller went to Martinique to study rhum agricole methods.
Paul, I know all about diffusers and such. It sickens me that Oprah is pushing that Casa Dragones crap on her gullible followers. $80 for a diffuser made blanco that has been made palatable with additives or $200+ for the aged version. She and Martha Stewart (who is also pushing it) should rot in hell together.
Pasote is the other "hot new brand" (among aficionados), it reminds me a lot of Siete Leguas. I am happy that we have it here in NC at a competitive price ($35 on sale, usually $40) and I am about to go grab me another before the end of the month. The Repo goes on sale in October - I am patient as I have a lot of other stuff to drink in the meantime.
I have a bottle of T1 and I like it though it is not my favorite flavor profile. There are some that have what I call the "classic" profile - clean, crisp, fruity. Siete, pasote and Fortaleza are among these. Then there are those with a minerally, earthy smell and taste - such as T1 and Tapatio. Both are very well regarded and I drink them and can appreciate that they are excellent Tequilas - but that minerally "wet cement" quality (I have heard it called) is not as appealing to me. Casa Noble has a taste all its own - it has been called "buttercream" and "forest floor", and is probably the most complex Tequila I have had. It has been my favorite for a while, but I have to say the 92 proof Fortaleza still strength popped right there with it.
At times I am in the mood for a blanco and sometimes an anejo. It's OK to like them all.
Scott, did you know that Carlos Santana owns Casa Noble? I last had his Anejo but I have never seen the 5 year old any place.
Yes, Carlos bought a large interest in Casa Noble a few years back - 49% I think. It was already an established and well-respected brand, so not one of those "celebrity" brands like Casamigos or 901. (I have not heard good things about the former, but I went through a bottle of the latter and it was one of the blandest Tequilas I have had.)
Scott, I just looked up the Wikipedia article on tequila. The shelf life of opened bottles is 1-2 YEARS instead of 1-2 months. That other article got it wrong and forced me to down a bottle of very expensive extra anejo in less than two months. Also, blancos will last longer than anejos whereby tannin is added from the barrels.
As for Casa Noble, I am confused. Anejos are aged 1-3 years and extra anejos are aged for at least 3 years. So how can they call a 5-year aged tequila an anejo instead of extra anejo?
By the same token, white rums and dry rums will last longer in opened bottles than aged sugar bombs.
Scott, here is the link to the article that misled me on shelf life of tequila. Presumably, it was written to sell more tequila by conning collectors into drinking up.
Paul, extra anejo is a relatively new designation. Their newer bottles with the paper labels have it.
My friend who is usually a reliable source when it comes to Tequila told me that the newer bottles with the paper label are not as good as they used to be. I recently opened a paper label blanco and it seems fine to me, though I have an unopened foil label bottle I plan to compare at some point in the future.
Scott, since you are a big fan of dry rums by R.L Seale and I can only get three agings from The Real McCoy (3,5, and 12), you may like to know that I have The Real McCoy 12 rated 34 out of 127. I also have another great dry rum rated at 31 out of 127, which is Don Q Anejo. Yes, The Real McCoy tastes better than Don Q Anejo, but at 3 times the prices, The Real McCoy loses out big time. I noticed that you have no reviews for either. Give Don Q Anejo a shot for only $15 and don't let the ultra low price fool you. Don Q can create dry rums without using heavily charred oak barrels. How they do it must be a trade secret. It is my hands down best value rum and no other rum can touch the taste versus price ratio (B/C ratio in professional jargon). If I ever wound up broke, Don Q Anejo would be my go-to rum. However, once we all rise to the top, nothing can bring us back down except for sheer stupidity.
(Hmmm I thought I posted this a few nights ago but here it is still in the edit box)
Don Q anejo is not available here. Online I see the anejo around $20. I might consider trying it if I have an empty space in a case with my next online order. I've had the cristal and thought it tasted like water so my impression of the brand so far was meh.
I passed on the Real McCoy 12 yr when I was in Orlando because I had heard it was pretty much the same as the Doorly's 12 yr which was around $20 cheaper so I got a couple of those. Just had some of the 8 and 12 the other night and both were great.
Scott, Don Q Cristal is the most popular rum in Puerto Rico, but certainly not for taste. The reason that it tastes like water because it was made specifically to be a penalty free drunk. I wrote a lengthy review of it here and ironically, that is where I got my first "I'll drink to that" vote. Don Q is noted for not having any additives. I am tempted to try one of their special edition bottles aged from 2005.
On another note, I almost took you up on your offer for Appleton 21 year. Then I saw your review of it on the Try Before You Buy smart move. I have yet to try it in a bar. I am not surprised that you like their 12 year even better. The last time that I tried 3 rums in a bar by the glass wound up with me buying none of the full bottles. They were Barbancourt 15, Goslings Family Reserve Old, and Zaya 12 (the new style). However, had I tried Ron Cartavio Solera 12 by the glass in a bar, I would have never bought a whole bottle, which wound up ranking 17 out of 127 on my list. That one really needs to breathe for at least an hour. Trying rums by the glass can certainly help to avoid wasting money on entire bottles, but it is not 100% accurate. I would take notes on paper with each glass and ignored the few funny looks from other patrons.
I just went to my parent’s homeover the holidays and found an El Dorado 15 yr that had first been opened over 10 years ago. It still tasted great! Maybe now exactly the same as the day it was opened, but much better than expected.
Andy, I wonder if it is possible that a 10 year old ED15 did not have nearly as much added sugar as today's versions. Flavors only deteriorate in rums with 20 gpl of added sugar or more. Today's ED15 is a sugar bomb approaching 40 gpl of added sugar. Whenever I buy DRE or ED12, I always notate the date the bottle was opened so that it will be consumed within two months. I have had dry rums that are six months old still taste the same.
@Paul really interesting thought - I learn something new every day about rum! I sure do wonder now if what you're saying is the case. I'll try to find an ED15 at a bar and have a sip to see if it's comparable to the bottle I have.
I bottled some rums up for a client in the Far East. It was a 19yo and a 28yo Demerara Rum. I can't really bring myself to drink them, as they are not replaceable, but I did open them up about 5 years ago, and they are still doing fine.
I also had some cask samples of a 40yo rum. That's been with me for the past 20 years, as I really cannot bring myself to drink it. It came from Valdespino, who now have a hook up with Abuelo and turn out a pretty average rum. That's still a wonderful rum. I've also had some samples of Port Morant 1974/1975/1976 that I blended together in 2000 and that is still fine, although at cask strength, it is something I am too afraid to visit that often!!
I have a rather decent collection of rums and have had the collection now for over 15 years with several bottles over 10 years. Some of my good stuff has turned to schmeg and some of the crud rum has actually improved drastically., There is a product out there called wine perserve, it is made out of Argon which is heavier than air and thus provides a layer between the rum and air thus slowing the oxidation process, you just need to use it each time you enjoy your rum and is a bit costly. one aerosol can goes a long ways and when you have rum that costs hundreds of dollars the investment is well worth it. you can find the preservation product on Amazon.
In my wine drinking years, I used a wine keeper cork that basically sucked most of the air out and left a vacuum. I don't know if this would work with rum because each bottle neck is shaped differently.
What works for me is repeat purchases of rums that I know are rated highly in my book. I keep them closed. Once I open them up, I record the date opened in my spreadsheet. I never have more than 7 bottles opened at any given time. What you see in the image of my "cabinet" is mostly all gone. For many of them, I tried one ounce for it's rating and then let it sit for months, only to find out that the flavor had changed. It is really interesting that some of your cheap rums wound up tasting better after aging in the bottle. I found that the expensive ones deteriorate faster, especially the ones with more added sugar.
Keep up the good work with your reviews! Your tastes are similar to mine.
It looks like there's a clear correlation between the climate and the effect on open bottles of spirits. Thankfully I live in Glasgow which means my rums are naturally kept in a refrigerated environment lol!
Must be nice, where i live it gets up in the low 100"s..... But i have Air conditioning and thus my house is kept fairly constant and somewhat cool in the summer.
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