Why Use a Decanter for Scotch?

My husband’s favorite beverage is scotch. He recently bought himself a nice decanter, but I don’t think he really understood why or whether he needed one. I believe he simply saw it in a movie and decided to invest in a nice glass vessel just to feel important.

Normally, a decanter helps separate sediments and improves the flavor and aroma of wine through oxidation.

In contrast, scotch has fewer sediments and reacts slower when exposed to oxygen, thanks to its high alcohol content of over forty percent alcohol by volume. As a result, it does not drastically change, so why use a decanter for scotch?

Generally, people use a decanter for scotch when you want to make an aesthetic statement, preserve your scotch whiskey, or have control over your stock during a party. You may also want to use a decanter to create a DIY blended scotch.

This article will explain why you may want to use a decanter for scotch. I’ll also discuss what factors you should consider when choosing the best decanter for your favorite scotch.

scotch decanter

Six Reasons You’d Like to Use a Decanter for Scotch

For Aesthetic Appeal

This reason for using a decanter sounds vain and shallow, but it is the primary reason people use decanters for scotch whiskey.

Many decanters have an artistic and elegant flair that complements the appearance of your scotch. All you need is a glass or crystalline decanter and the perfect positioning of light to make your scotch glimmer and make you the envy of all.

The design of the decanter and stopper can also act as a personal statement, making you appear more respectable among peers. Even if you’re not in it to impress others, looking at a stunning decanter sure is a pleasure!

To Test Those Taste Buds

According to a study by the California Institute of Technology (CalTech) and Stanford University, the price of a product influences how a person experiences the product.

In the study, the subjects preferred the taste of wine from a $90 bottle to that from a $10 bottle. However, it was the same bottle of wine.

In addition, when they did not include the price, the subjects chose the cheapest wine over the expensive bottle. They concluded that price and appearance – and we dare say brand – can make a product more appealing. This idea applies to any product, including scotch.

So, if you love hosting parties with friends and family, pour different brands into different decanters and put your guests’ taste buds to the test. You and your visitors are bound to be surprised by the results.

To Serve a Bargain Scotch as If It was Premium

Not everyone can afford a $300 bottle of scotch. So, if you can only afford an inexpensive option that no one would try if they knew what it was, pour it into a decanter and serve.

As we now know from the CalTech and Stanford study, few guests will be able to tell the difference, plus there will be no judgment.

To Create a Unique Blend of Scotch

Are you feeling a tad creative and adventurous and want to create a one-of-a-kind scotch blend? You can use a decanter to mix your various commercial scotch brands.

The decanter also works well as an ideal place to store your rare mixture, as the flavors harmonize. Once fully blended, you can use it to serve your unique flavored scotch whiskey.

To Preserve the Taste of Your Scotch

Scotch whiskey does not change in flavor as much as wine, but it still deteriorates slowly over time, especially after opening.

If not kept in an airtight container with little space above the liquor, then your favorite scotch can lose its smoky, malty, or tasty, complex flavor. The resulting whiskey becomes smoother and fruity. Finally, it tastes flat, dull, and rancid.

You must keep the space above the scotch to a minimum as aroma and flavor molecules dissipate from the scotch to the air in the bottle.

Once you open the bottle to pour your liquor into a glass, the dissipated molecules escape into the surrounding air. These flavorful bits of your scotch will then be for good.

That is where a decanter comes in. Decanters come in many sizes to accommodate any quantity of scotch you have.

The more liquor you can fill in the decanter, the less volume of space your flavorful molecules can occupy after dissipation. Hence, preserving the taste and aroma of your scotch longer.

It is crucial to note that a decanter is not a foolproof method to preserve your scotch, but it may slow down how fast your whiskey loses its flavor and aroma.

To Control Your Stock

Scotch tastes much better in the company of others, but you may not want to finish an entire bottle in one night.

A decanter helps you control whatever amount you will serve guests. So pour your desired amount of liquor in an appropriately sized decanter and serve without care because you still have some to spare for another day.

scotch decanter

Factors To Consider When Choosing a Decanter for Scotch

The Decanter’s Size

As we mentioned above, whiskey decanters come in different sizes. Get a decanter that fits an entire bottle of your liquor well without leaving too much air space between the stopper and the scotch. This space conservation will prevent the loss of volatile alcohol molecules that contain both the taste and scent of your scotch.

An Airtight Seal

Once you open a scotch bottle, expect the taste of your whiskey to change. An airtight seal around the stopper of your desired decanter ensures the alcohol cannot evaporate, effectively keeping the flavors intact for longer.

The airtight seal also reduces contamination of your scotch from the surrounding air.

The Decanter’s Material

Decanters come in either glass or crystal.

Glass decanters have a simple, more modern look.

On the other hand, crystal decanters are thicker and more decorative, and they add a touch of glimmer when light hits the decanter. Some crystalline decanters, especially older models, have lead particles, resulting in a heavy-feeling decanter.

If you are an avid scotch drinker and finish your whiskey in a day or two, the lead crystal decanters will not pose much danger.

However, if you plan to hold your whiskey in the decanter for several weeks to months, the lead may leach into your scotch and pose some harm to your health.

As a cautionary measure, it is best to choose a lead-free decanter no matter how long you wish to keep the whiskey in the container.

The Decanter’s Design and Price

Does appearance matter to you? Or are you looking for a decanter that will make a statement? If appearance and making a statement at parties or events are important to you, consider designs that achieve your goals. Remember, elaborate, decorative, and sophisticated decanters come at a price.


In summary, a scotch decanter has six uses:

  • It adds a touch of sophistication and helps make a statement.
  • An appropriately sized decanter for scotch reduces the number of flavorful alcohol molecules dissipated, thus preserving flavor and aroma.
  • It is a perfect place to hide an inexpensive bottle of scotch without the fear of any judgment.
  • You can use a scotch decanter to test your guests’ taste buds.
  • You can use a decanter to mix, hold, and store your unique, homemade scotch whiskey blends.
  • A decanter can help control the amount of liquor you serve when hosting a party.

Read Also: How Long Can You Keep Bourbon in a Decanter?

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