I've tried Stroh Rum 80 and again isopropanol on bassoon reeds.
80% ethanol Stroh Rum is a drink of repute as a cheaper antiseptic too. It smells strongly, colors the reed and destroyed one. It also corrugates the mouth's skin. Maybe dilution to 70% would save the reed and the mouth, but I didn't try again.
Isopropanol (1L for 5.90€ on eBay) regenerated one more reed that became responsive and clear-voiced again but not tinny. Cleaning mechanically the reed inside hadn't brought this. Maybe isopropanol removes the damping biofilm better while sparing the cane and its strength.
70% ethanol (without tannin) would smell better but is expensive, so I haven't tried yet.
Hi Corribus and Marquis, thanks for your contributions!
Yes, alteration of the reed itself is a concern with isopropanol. As usual with natural items, the composition is unknown to a high degree of accuracy, hence predictions are difficult, so experiments decide. As it looks now, isopropanol does more good than harm to the reed, which gets destroyed be mere use too. Mechanical and water cleaning didn't rejuvenate the reeds like isopropanol does. I must still try the improved mechanical cleaning (special inner brushes, goat hair outer brush) and compare, maybe also try ethanol. Possibly I had big luck at first trial.
Yes too, good idea to weigh the reed and try varied conditions. If for instance cycles of clean - play - clean lose no mass, the cleaning method would be considered caring. This doesn't even demand accelerated tests, since our precious reeds are destroyed within 2 weeks use. You know, future wind musicians practice daily for 10+ years to play somewhat decently, so it's not a matter of a couple hours.