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Oct 10, 2011 11:44 AM

I need some help with COGNACS

I have a few bottles at home and i need help with them.

1- Remy Martin VSOP Fine Champagne Cognac - they are at least 30yrs old.

2- Rémy Martin Extra Fine Champagne Cognac - still in its decanter. at least 10 yrs old.

3- Otard XO - its in a black bottle. at least 10 yrs old too.

Can they still be consumed? Do they age in the bottles? Just in general, what happen to them?

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  1. Spirits do not, for the most part, age in the bottle. If they are sealed and not subject to temperature extremes, they will last for decades and should taste the same when opened that they would have when new. Once the bottle is open, there can be oxidation which means flavors get lost, though they should still be drinkable.

    4 Replies
    1. re: sku

      After tasting some spirits recently from 1939, 1940, 1945 and 1905 from sealed bottles I found that there can be oxidation even if sealed. Also if stored in a high aroma area they can pick up those aromas. These bottles were stored on cedar shelves and had picked up a cedar taste besides the oxidation. Also if stored in warm environments, or bright ones, they can oxidize and go off pretty quickly, even if sealed. I saw a bottle of that bright blue Hypnotiq liqueur displayed in a store window turn pure white within a few weeks.

      Drink up that cognac now while it is hopefully still good.

      1. re: JMF

        JMF, point taken, but 100 year old spirits are a lot different than the 30 year old and certainly the 10 year olds the OP is asking about. I've had sealed spirits that are 30 or 40 years old that are just fine, even great. That being said, you are absolutely right about environment. And of course, in bottles that old, you can get substantial evaporation even through the seal, but I don't think I've seen that in a ten year old bottle.

        1. re: sku

          thank you for ur help! im certainly going to open them and savour as soon as i can. I was just wondering if the cognac is sealed in its glass decanter, the taste should stay the same, no? Or does it still oxidise?

          1. re: koegt

            Depends upon how absolutely air-tight/moisture-tight the seal truly is.

            As has already been mentioned above, they *can* oxidize in the bottle, even though sealed, but distillates are certainly more resistant to changes in the bottle than wine or beer.

    2. I had a problem with the corks drying out, and also with evaporation. I now store those few bottles of cognac and scotch on their sides, just tilted enough so the cork stays in contact with the liquor.