Aging Feni Alcohol Drink – Message in the Glass Bottle

“Why should whisky or a brandy beaged in an oak cask and not a Feni?”

Goan’s have been consuming Feni for a few centuries now, yet the majority of the Feni sold and consumed today is un-aged.Very rarely would someone be accessible to aged Feni, because its unlikely thatsomeone would be able to store Feni without consuming it. For the most part,aged Feni is available usually at a personal capacity- the elixir that willonly be served to his closest and most cherished friends and family. What mightbe intriguing is that, unlike aged Whisky and Brandy that take on a beautifulamber hue, even the oldest Feni’s are clear as spring water! (Though CashewFeni is known to take on a pale golden hue). That’s because all Feni is aged inlarge glass carboys called garrafaons or steel vessels instead of wooden casks.While Bottlers prefer to use steel vessels because of their high volume storageand output of production, some barmen still store their Feni in glass carboyscalled garrafaons. The logistics and monetary feasibility of using Oak Casks toage Feni make it prohibitively expensive for someone to experiment. But I ask,why not glass stick to the time tested glass then? A lack of oak would certainlyallow the robust character of Feni to appear to its fullest, wouldn’t it?

Following conventional alcohol wisdom, why would someone store Feni in garrafaon’s if the common knowledge was that Feni does not age in glass? It is widely understood that once an alcoholis in a bottle, the character (under proper storage conditions) will neverchange. This is because the high alcohol concentration forbids anything tohappen inside the liquid. Which would mean that if your father bottled a Feni in 1970, it would taste the same if opened today, 43 years later? But anyonewho has tasted aged Feni will beg to differ. Can this be explained only bypsychology? Or is it just because that quality of Feni is not made any more today?

It little wonder that one hearsstories of glass bottles of Feni being found at the bottom of water wells ordeep under the soil of the court yard. The high alcohol content may work against it, but if you look at it witha bit of common sense, it is clear that something just must happen in thebottle after the cork has been sealed. It would be naïve to believe that all of the hundreds of chemical substances present in Feni that give it its unique bouquet and taste, would become totally inert right after bottling. There has to be a chemical interaction that we do not full understand yet, that just makes and aged Feni smoother and round of its sharp edges. To me it’s plain andsimple; our ancestors recognized the fact that the Feni does indeed change overtime in glass, and we won’t admit it. That’s the message in the bottle!

Saude!

Glass carboys-wickered with cane.

Glass carboys-wickered with cane.

Aging in garrafao's

Aging in garrafao’s

Different sized garrafao's

Different sized garrafao’s