Infinity Bottles Explained
A DIY blending technique of ‘Infinity Bottles’ enables home drinkers to make custom blends themselves, using their own whskies.
Since Ralfy Mitchell, a Scottish whisky YouTuber, suggested to his followers in 2012 that it would be fantastic if they could blend their own version of Glenfiddich 15, the concept of an infinite bottle has been floating around. But the idea of fractional blending, the inspiration for the Infinity Bottle, has existed for ages. When shipping wine first took place, they kept it in clay jugs. They eventually realised that blending newer vintage wine with older vintage wine improves its consistency and flavour.
This practice was then transferred to barrels and the Solera method was born. This method is essentially what an Infinity Bottle represents, your own Solera.
Tips for creating a great infinity bottle
Bottle or decanter – whether you use a bottle or a decanter is obviously your decision. If you do decide to plump for a decanter, ensure that you get one with an air-tight seal. Many decorative decanters are glass-to-glass seals and are not air-tight. Would you leave a bottle of whisky for any length of time with the top off?
To mix or match – decide whether you’re going random or sticking to a particular type of whisky/whiskey. Whether that be a particular distillery, region, age, cask type, peated or not, rye, wheat, corn etc.
Watch the peat! – If your blend is all non or very lightly peated, be aware that adding a fully peated whisky will dominate and probably overwhelm the other aromas and flavours.
Where to store? – As with any whisky or whiskey, store in a cool dark place in an upright air-tight container.
Keep a record – Remember to keep a log of all the whiskies you add to the infinity bottle and how much. This is a fun talking point with whisky-loving mates but also a great help should your bottle suddenly go wrong and you need help to identify the culprit.
You can also keep a diary of the differences in appearance, nose, palate and finish of your concoction as it morphs with every addition.
Keep the level up – To avoid oxidisation, try to keep the vessel at least 80% full. This may be tricky when starting an infinity bottle, but with some planning, you can put enough bottles aside to get the level up at the start of the process.
Taste as you go – To ensure the highest quality of blend possible, taste your whisky creation as you go. Not only will this allow you to pick and choose the next offering to the infinity bottle, but it will also be great tasting practice for you! If your blend tastes slightly too spicy, choose a whisky to add that offsets this with jam or dark fruit notes.
Give it time – After each addition, give the bottle a swirl about to mix the blend and then let it sit for a day or so. Then taste. The difference between waiting and not can be quite substantial.
Get technical – Create a spreadsheet to automate some of the work such as the overall ABV, ml used/left and so on. There have even been whiskey Inifinity Bottle Worksheets created in Excel to track the overall mash bill, for those among us that like a spreadsheet! Download one here.
Research and get involved – There a plenty of articles on infinity bottle creation best practices, as well as communities such as Twitter or subReddits such as WhiskeyFrankenstein. All you need to do is get involved and ask questions!
Have fun! – Don’t obsess over your infinity bottle. If you worry too much about it then it won’t be an enjoyable experience. Remember that it’s all about experimentation, sometimes it will work, sometimes it won’t.