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Old 05-29-2010, 01:11 PM   #3
Gray
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Seattle
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I think, unopened, the biggest concern is storage. Light and heat can affect the color and eventually the flavor. And if the cork is dry or brittle you risk losing a bit of your rum to evaporation and may get an occasional off taste from the dried cork.

In general, if kept well, unopened bottles of spirits should keep in good shape for a long time. I know whiskey auctions regularly contain unopened bottles that are easily decades old. I remember reading a quote from one auction house's representative that said that, in the bottle, whiskey bottled 100 years ago should taste about the same now. There are obviously some differences in the makeup of rum and whiskey, but I think in general the decades old rum should be fine as long as it wasn't abused in storage.

Once it's opened you'll start to notice a difference, but even then the liquor will last quite a while, though the flavor will mellow and change and may never be at it's prime again (if it ever had a prime). Too much air and it'll eventually go to pot.
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