Deciding where and how to store an open bottle has long been a conundrum for whiskey drinkers. Whether it’s open or unopened, there are ways in which whiskey can be properly and improperly stored.
So, if you have a bottle of fine whiskey in the cupboard you received as a groomsmen gift, or you’ve treated yourself to a quality single malt, consider the following advice to keep it tasting great.
How to Store Unopened Bottles of Whiskey
An unopened bottle of whiskey has two primary enemies – temperature and light. A combination of bright lights and frequent temperature fluctuations can act as catalysts for a chemical reaction in the whiskey. When exposed to catalysts, all the compounds that make your whiskey taste so unique will eventually begin to break down. This can turn a fine whiskey, distilled and then left to mature for years, into a bitter and unpleasant beverage.
No matter how you store your whiskey, the ABV will remain the same – so if you purchase a 40% ABV bottle of whiskey, even after it has been improperly stored, it will remain 40% for potentially 20 years. The flavour, however, will be totally ruined.
So, to keep your whiskey tasting great, keep it stored away from direct sunlight. Artificial light is less of a problem, but it is still best to keep a whiskey stored in a dark cabinet. Ideally, you should keep your whiskey in a basement or a room that does not experience temperature fluctuations as a result of central heating. If your home is air conditioned, any storage unit should do.
How to Store Opened Bottles
If you have kept your whiskey stored away from the light, and it still has more than two-thirds left, then you can expect the whiskey to taste the same for about a year. You can simply put the lid back on and keep the bottle stored in the same place.
After a year, the oxygen in the bottle will begin binding with chemical compounds found in the whiskey in a process known as oxidation. When oxygen combines with the whiskey it creates new compounds, which will drastically alter the flavour.
If the opened bottle of whiskey has less than half of its contents left, then you will have a much shorter period of time in which you can still enjoy the whiskey’s original flavour. The oxidation process will occur much more quickly, and there should be a noticeable change in taste after around one month.
The key to storing opened whiskey bottles is drinking them! It’s a great excuse to invite your friends over to enjoy a drink. Don’t forget some of the best accessories from SipDark!