So, yeah, why use a decanter for Scotch? We’re going to tackle the question, but first, a super-brief history lesson. It all started out in a pretty practical sense. Back in the day, when it was time to get whisky from the barrel, you needed a decanter to literally make the transition. (Note: We’re going with the “whisky” regional spelling when referring to the Scotch today, in honor of Scotland and this fine spirit.)
Fast-forward to the 21st century, and we’re mostly about style when it comes to our bottles of Scotch and their rightful place in our decanters. But you’ll find that it’s not all about appearances. (Though, with whiskey decanters like these, aesthetics truly are pretty high on the list of reasons to use a decanter for your beloved Scotch.)
We can’t deny it. Decanters are snazzy. They say classy without even trying. And honestly, that dreamy dram looks as warm as it feels when poured into a whiskey decanter. Add a touch of sophistication and personality to your home bar. Scotch decanters are particularly awesome if you’re a whisky aficionado with a considerable whisky collection.
We all probably associate decanters with wine because many wines need to breathe roughly an hour before being served. Scotch doesn’t really need to open up, though. Tannins aren’t the name of the game with Scotch. Usually, whisky is bottled at 40 percent (or higher) ABV, so the alcohol content keeps it from any dramatic shifts in flavor, with decanting or even storage over time. Scotch typically gets all the air it needs in your whiskey glass right after that healthy pour. Some people swear they notice a difference when they decant Scotch, but if that’s the case, it’s definitely a subtle difference.
Sometimes, you might like for your family, friends, and/or coworkers to see the brand of Scotch you stock in your home bar. But if you want everyone to focus on the taste instead of the label, then use a decanter. You’ll essentially hide the name, helping your guests enjoy the flavor alone. Maybe you’ve discovered a great Scotch, and you don’t want people to pre-judge simply because it’s not a bottle they recognize. (Try some decanter tags for easy pouring!)
I point this one out so often whenever "why use a decanter for Scotch?" pops up in a conversation with friends. Let’s be honest. Sometimes you need to control the whisky inventory, and some of your pals could get carried away with your delicious Scotch option(s). A decanter is an extremely useful tool to discreetly limit the crowd’s intake. The party doesn't have to know there’s another bottle under the bar cart. A decanter showcases what’s left and often encourages your guests to hold back a bit and share the spirits.
If you’re already rolling your eyes at this one, feel free to skip ahead. It’s maybe a little unconventional to mix different brands of Scotch, but hey, you’re essentially creating your own unique blend. And once you do this, you need a place to store said blend. What to do? Hm, oh yeah: decanter to the rescue.
Learn more from The Scotch Whisky Experience. Here, they discuss the art of whisky blending.
Your Scotch won’t age well once you open it. It will slowly oxidize if there’s too much head space in the bottle. Extend your Scotch’s life with a decanter that boasts an airtight seal. It’s preservation and style all in one!
Check out our blog “Does Whiskey Evaporate? Can It Be Stopped?” for more information about storing your favorite spirits.
Speaking of airtight seals, that's certainly an attribute you should look for in a Scotch decanter. It’ll keep everything fresh and flavorful. Pour gently and serve. It’s recommended that you drink that opened Scotch in a year’s time, but we think you'll probably get the job done much sooner. After a year, though, you’ll encounter sweeter, more caramel-like notes. Some of you may actually dig it. We’re not here to judge.
Consider size as well. A Prestige Decanter is certainly large enough (1000ml+) for those average 750ml bottles of Scotch. You can also depend on Prestige products to be lead-free. Don’t be mesmerized by all that sparkly lead crystal because lead-leaching in your Scotch is not cool. It can be dangerous. The Scotch Addict explains the facts here.
Why use a decanter for Scotch? It’s a question we get a lot. We’ll let you decide! As you can see, there are quite a few benefits that come with storing your whisky in a decanter (even aside from the undeniable appeal).
Have a favorite brand of Scotch or a unique blend you’ve tried and loved? Share it all with us below.