How To Store Whiskey

How To Store Whiskey

This Is How You Properly Store Your Whiskey

How many times have you experienced your whiskey going bad? Have you observed mold, a foul smell, or discoloration after storing it over time? Or tasted it and had a milder impact on your palate than before? If you have, chances are your whiskey might not have been stored properly.

Like any other liquor, whiskey must be stored properly in order to preserve its true quality and taste. However, it entails a different storage process. The shelf life of whiskey depends on whether or not it has yet to be opened. The taste of whiskey in a bottle that has been opened does not change as much as wine does; nonetheless, it will change over time. Whiskey in an unopened bottle is more likely to retain its taste even after a long time. But whatever the case may be, certain steps should be followed if you do not want to let your precious whiskey go to waste.

Properly storing an unopened whiskey

If unopened and stored properly, even old whiskey can still taste the same, even though so much time has passed by. Here’s how you can store it properly

  • Store it in a dark place. Similar to other liquors, exposure to direct sunlight will cause chemical reactions to the whiskey, altering its taste and physical appearance. An underground cellar or pantry will do great if you have a large area. But if you only have a small place, then you can put it in your cabinet or in a box.
  • Keep it at the correct temperature range. The ideal storage temperature for whiskey should be in between 15 and 20° C (59-68° F). Fluctuations outside this range might greatly affect the quality of the liquor. At higher temperatures, expansion of the bottle may occur, allowing air to get in even in the presence of the cork. On the other hand, if stored in colder temperatures, freezing might occur and alter the taste of the whiskey.
  • Store the bottle upright. While you have to store wine either sideways or upside down, whiskey should be stored standing upright. The main reason for this is the cork. For wines, the cork must always be wet so that it wouldn’t dry up and get brittle. This is not true for whiskey, as it has a much higher alcohol content than wine. So when its cork is kept wet over a long period, the alcohol will erode the cork, eventually letting air inside the bottle, and will cause reactions that would lead to the discoloration and change in taste of the whiskey.
  • Occasionally moisten the cork. While you don’t want the cork to get in contact with the liquid in the bottle at all times, it’s still better to moisten it up occasionally. This is because a completely dried up cork might deteriorate over time and crumble once you open the bottle. You don’t want your fine whiskey topped with crumbled cork, right?
  • Take note of the humidity. Planning to store your whiskey under the basement? Take note of the humidity first. It really won’t affect the quality of the whiskey itself, but mold might find their way to the bottle’s label, making it unattractive. 

​Properly storing an opened whiskey

If you have changed your mind and are suddenly dying to taste that aged whiskey, and decided to open the bottle, there is a way to properly store the remaining whiskey and minimize the changes in taste and quality.

  • Keep it away from sunlight and high temperatures. Similarly, direct light and temperature fluctuations affect the whiskey’s quality. Store it back safely in a dark, cool place.
  • Do not expose it to oxygen as much as possible. Once opened even just for the shortest period of time, oxygen gets quickly in the bottle and will cause chemical interactions with the whiskey. If the bottle was just opened once and stored again properly, the whiskey will still retain its quality for over a year. If you open the bottle more frequently, the more exposure the whiskey will have to oxygen.
  • Transfer the leftover whiskey in smaller containers or bottles. If you wish to preserve your whiskey further even after opening, it is recommended to transfer it in portions inside smaller bottles, as they have a smaller area that reduces the possibility of oxygen contact.
  • Note the ‘one-third’ mark. If the leftover whiskey hits only one-third of the bottle, it’s time to call up some friends and drink the bottle down to its last drop. A greater empty space inside the bottle only allows more air inside. It’s a lot better to share it with friends than losing its fine taste without anyone being able to enjoy it.

That precious unopened bottle of whiskey which has been finally handed down to you by your great-grandfather can even be passed on to your future grandson if you store it properly. And if you do decide to have a taste, you can still keep it for as much as a year before the quality starts to deteriorate if preserved properly.