We all know that feeling. We are helluva proud that we managed to score a rare bottle. So we place it in our whisky cabinet for some time and just marvel at its beauty. Then, we finally crack its cork and pour us a dram. And another one. And another one. While each sip means pure ecstasy for our taste buds, it also brings us closer to the point where our brains become alarmed. Because the downside to each bottle – no matter how great a liquid it contains – is that sooner or later it will be empty. And at least for me, parting with a rare whisky, which I will most likely not be able to buy a second time, is always a little rough.
But what can I do? Leaving the last sip in the bottle and not touching it anymore for months or even years is not really a choice, as it will inevitably cause the precious spirit to lose part (or all) of its punch. Buying each bottle twice, once for drinking and once for keeping, is also not an option; at least not when we are talking about bottles that come with a hefty price tag. So it seems like I just have to live with the fact that my precious whiskies will all be gone at one point or another…
Well, not entirely. Last year, a friend introduced me to a great idea. Whenever he opens a bottle that he cannot easily rebuy – e.g. because it is a limited edition or because it is located in a steep price range – he takes a 5 or 10cl sample of it in a medicine flask. Since said containers are made from darkened glass and 100 per cent airtight, they preserve the liquid perfectly and keep the influence of sunlight or oxygen to a minimum. Once sampled, a whisky pretty much remains as it is.
After I heard of that idea, I quickly ordered a bunch of medicine flasks online and filled them with some of my treasures. Among others, I sampled a wonderful Teeling 11yo by Whisky Warehouse #8, a cracking Dalmore 24yo by Cadenhead’s and Kilchoman’s Machir Bay Tour Edition 2015 in cask strength. Recently, I also added the Hakushu 12 to that list. While many stores still have it for sale, its price was raised by more than EUR 20 since I bought it. So who knows how long this killer malt from the Far East will still be available for an affordable price?
Since I started taking samples of select whiskies from my collection, some of the sampled bottles ran dry and others became alarmingly empty. Yet, this does not bother me anymore. Cause now I know that whenever I open one of my little medicine flasks, I get the chance to “re-discover” a whisky that brought me lots of joy a long time ago.
Buy medicine flasks from Flaschenland: https://www.flaschenland.de/