No, this is not another lure to get you to buy stuff from me.
Yesterday on Twitter we got into a discussion about a sane amount of bottles to have open at any given moment. Generally there are two lines of thought in this: All of your bottles or around 20.
I know some people (and used to be one) that belong to the group that just pops the cork of anything they buy. Going so far that Mister Maltstock Teun has more open bottles than a general ‘whisky specialist shop’ has in stock at a given moment. You can see what he has available here.
I used to do that too until about two years ago. I found that some bottles of which the last heel I had been saving for a special moment had gone completely flat, leaving me with a barely drinkable whisky. That was an entirely different special moment than I had envisioned.
On the other end of the spectrum I find a lot of my whisky friends that keep up to 20 or 30 bottles open at the same time. This keeps you finishing bottles instead of hanging on to oxidizing booze, and keeps your collection in a constant state of mutation.
I feel the latter group is a more sane approach and keeps your booze in better quality. Therefore I am moving toward this group, but it is a slow process. I started last year with about 140 open bottles, some of which had been open for five years.
The biggest drawback however, is that you have to be disciplined with your newest acquisitions and wait for your collection to decrease before opening it.
Since I started finishing bottles off (I call them mini-projects) I have gotten it down to approximately 110 by now and want to get it to 80 by the end of the year. Lowering the count by 30 each year gives me the opportunity to still taste other stuff, have a few tastings from my collection of open bottles and open the occasional new bottle.
Also, it gives me a reachable target and a fun tasting with some friends to look forward to somewhere in November or December. Last year I planned a bottoms-up tasting in March, but everybody brought leftovers so we ended up finishing more of their bottles than mine. Maybe I was a bit too ambitious too with my 30-something bottles on the table.
I just might have to do two of these leftover nights this year. Else, I just realized, I only get to my envisioned target by 2015, which is way too far ahead to even contemplate.