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I have a bottle of bourbon that I've been enjoying very much, but as I've neared the end, I've noticed very VERY fine grit (sand?) settling to the bottom of the glass, each time I have a drink.

I've never noticed this before. Where would this come from? Is this just a normal consequence of the bourbon-making process? Is this an indication of a poor bourbon, or one that is slopilly made?

  • Is the bottle top made of cork? If so, is it disintegrating? – David Mar 12 '17 at 13:46
  • The top is made of cork, but it doesn't seem to be disintegrating. It's only a month or so old, so I'd be pretty surprised if it were. Also, the precipitate feels gritty like sand, not rubbery like cork. – Matt Mar 15 '17 at 19:10
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It's probably "barrel char" which is the inside of the barrel that was carbonized or "charred". Charred wood is pretty flaky and comes off easily. Sometimes this gets filtered out and sometimes the maker doesn't do a perfect job. Either way, if it's been soaking in alcohol for many years, it's probably not going to hurt you at this point!

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  • That's possible, but I'd expect char to be dark brown or black. This looks for all the world like white ash-tray sand. My main interest is what this means about the bourbon and the maker thereof. Does this mean they pay less attention than others? Or does this happen even to the best of them? – Matt Mar 15 '17 at 19:13
  • Hmmm... not sure then. In wine it would be acid crystals or yeast or something along those lines, but in Bourbon I'm not sure what it would be other than char. It's possible there was a failure in the filtering process and some of the filter media broke loose. I've had that happen in winemaking. The other possibility is that there was some problem in the manufacturing of the glass and somehow pieces of glass ended up in your bottle. Other than that, I can't think of anything else – farmersteve Mar 15 '17 at 20:20
  • I even emailed the maker, but they didn't have any ideas. Unfortunately, I'd already filtered the bourbon and thrown away the inclusions, so I didn't have anything to send to them, so there's not much to go on. It may also be worth mentioning that this was a 1.75L bottle. I wonder if there's something that's such a small percentage of the bourbon that it takes a very large amount for any noticeable amount of this stuff to fall out. – Matt Mar 27 '17 at 14:23

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