Throughout cinema and television history, men of importance always seem to have a decanter full of whiskey lying around.
Usually, these men are in their offices and they walk slowly across the room — a client sitting in an uncomfortable chair before them — in order to slowly pull the crystal topper out and pour themselves a glass. If they’re feeling generous, they might offer whoever they’re with a glass, too.
But why use a whiskey decanter?
For wine, there is a definitive purpose: a decanter lets wine breathe, which allows certain flavors and notes to express themselves after being stuck in a bottle (wine decanters don’t have seals like whiskey decanters do). Decanting wine can also remove sediment that might be at the bottom of the vintage.
For whiskey, though, there really isn’t a need for oxidizing or removing sediment. What it comes down to is aesthetics. If you want to look particularly badass or in control, then go ahead, put that whiskey in a decanter!
When choosing a decanter, there are a couple things to keep in mind:
- Size: A standard bottle of whiskey is 750 mL, which equates to about 25 ounces. If you plan on putting an entire bottle in the decanter, you’ll obviously need something larger than that. If you don’t plan on putting a whole bottle in, you can move right along to the next point.
- Airtight seal: While whiskey oxidizes slower than wine, it still oxidizes. You’ll want a decanter with a good, sturdy, airtight seal. When you transfer the whiskey from the bottle to the decanter, you’re already taking it out of its optimal environment (the original bottle), so you don’t want to exacerbate anything by providing a constant flow of oxygen due to a faulty seal.
- Lead-free crystal: Most decanters these days are already lead-free, but it’s good to check anyway. If the crystal contains lead, and the whiskey sits in it long enough, you could chance the lead leeching into the whiskey and doing terrible things to your insides.
- Price: Finally, how fancy do you want to look? How much do you want to show off? Will you use the decanter in a group setting such as a party, or is it going to be only for you at the end of a long day of work? What you want the decanter for should effect the price you’re willing to pay.
With these points in mind, we’ve pulled together some decanters to fit a range of styles, tastes, and prices. For suggestions on what to put into your decanter when you get one, check out the whiskey winners of The Manual Spirit Awards 2018.
For the Show-Off
Ravenscroft Crystal Beveled Blade Decanter – $95
Waterford Crystal Lismore Diamond Decanter – $169
JoyJolt Atlas Five-Piece Crystal Whiskey Decanter Set – $99
For the Fun-Lover
Storm Trooper Decanter – $31
BarMe Globe Decanter – $45
Artland Mixology Whisky Decanter – $27
Last updated September 5, 2018, to include details of The Manual Spirit Awards 2018.
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