Every so often I get to review something that isn't whiskey. For example, I'm a fan of reviewing whiskey glasses (yes, there is a difference no matter what anyone else tells you), but aside from that, opportunities are few and far between. From that, you can imagine my excitement when Aged & Ore sent me a sample of their Travel Decanter in exchange for an honest, no-strings-attached review.
If you're like me, you may not be a fan of decanters overall. I have them. They are gorgeous. One of my most cherished decanters was a gift from my godson and his wife when I officiated their wedding. Unfortunately, for long-term use, I've learned my lesson more than once. Yes, they hold whiskey (or wine or whatever). But they don't seal well and lend to evaporation. The few times I've used mine, I've had to "seal" the stopper with a ziplock bag which, of course, looks terrible and defeats the purpose of using a showy decanter. What it does do very well is make a great looking conversation piece on my bar.
The Aged & Ore Travel Decanter, however, is completely different. The packaging states it is designed for traveling near or far with spirits, cocktails, and wine. What you get is a hand-blown decanter that is encased in two stainless steel tumblers. The tumblers are also available in matte black or gloss white. Retail is $58.00 and is sold from Aged & Ore's website.
The decanter itself holds 500ml of liquid, or two-thirds of a standard bottle that has a metal and ribbed-silicone stopper. The two stainless steel tumblers are double-walled and screw together to form a leak-proof seal. The entire contraption (without liquid) weighs a mere 1.7 pounds (0.77kg), which, as a kit, weighs less than any decanter I've picked up.
Both of the tumblers have a 2oz measure line so you can pour and enjoy your whiskey responsibly, although if you were sitting next to a campfire, these lines would be difficult to spot and they're located much deeper than you'd assume. The finish is brushed and has one typical quality that most stainless items have: It is a fingerprint magnet and difficult to keep "clean" looking. Between you, me and the fencepost, I don't enjoy drinking out of steel containers. There is something unnatural about it and I always get a metallic taste from them. With these, it was no different, even without whiskey poured. The moment I brought it to my lips, I could already "taste" the metal. For me, that's a turn-off. The outer-bottoms of the tumblers have a slight polygon shape, allowing for a firm grip and limits the risk of accidental dropping, even when wet.
The decanter itself, even with a full 500ml of whiskey inside, was almost feather-light. A 750ml bottle of whiskey has some heft to it, there was none of that here. To test this, I took one of my infinity bottles and dumped the contents inside. It was very easy to fill with a wide-mouth opening. When I sealed the decanter, the silicone ribs seemed very flimsy and weak, making me curious if it would leak. As such, I performed a little experiment.
Leaving the full decanter on its side, somewhat inverted for a couple of hours provided no evidence of leaking. That's certainly a plus and subdued my fears.
Pouring from the decanter was easy. The mouth is wide enough to allow sufficient air to prevent splashing or sloshing. The surface is not slick and I had no concerns about accidentally dropping it.
As far as the travel aspect goes, in the United States, you're not bringing this in your carry-on luggage if you're flying. However, this seems perfectly sturdy enough to withstand the brute force of baggage handlers and being tossed around. Movement of the full decanter inside the tumblers was existent but minimal. Even if the decanter itself leaked or broke, the tumblers would keep your clothing safe. I placed about 250ml of water in one of the tumblers, sealed them together and shook it around with force, yet not a single drop escaped. If it can handle that test, it'll be safe inside your bag whether you're flying, driving, cycling or camping.
Bottle, Bar or Bust: Overall, I found the Aged & Ore Travel Decanter to be well-constructed and thought out. It is lightweight, sturdy and functional. The decanter itself is good-looking and could be displayed on a shelf instead of stored away in a closet. When it is kept as a kit, it looks like a Thermos and being a fingerprint magnet, I don't know that I'd put it on display. I'm definitely not happy with the metallic taste from the tumblers.
However, I do travel and it would be nice to be able to pack some great whiskey to share with others without having to pack paraffin to seal an open bottle and, even with bubble wrap bags, risk breakage. I can bring just what I need for a trip and have confidence it will remain intact.
The price could be seen by some as steep, but I do recognize value with this decanter, and a Glencairn glass is easy enough to pack. I see myself using this, and as such, I'm going to assign it my Bottle rating. Cheers!