To properly keep your whiskey in top condition, you need to store it in an area that is consistently staying at 59 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit (15-20°C). It is possible to store whiskey inside the freezer, however, cold whiskey has significantly less flavor and aroma when it is cold.
As whiskey drinkers, we all have the urge to buy two bottles at once: one for drinking now and another one to open later. A big conundrum whiskey drinkers face is how to store whiskey properly without destroying its complex taste and beautiful fragrance. To help fellow whiskey enthusiasts, we made this quick guide on proper whiskey storage.
How to Store Unopened Whiskey
1. Always store your whiskey upright
Unlike wine, which is stored horizontally, whiskey needs to be stored standing upright. This is due to the cork. Wine is stored on its side to keep the cork moist, ensuring that the stopper doesn’t dry out and degrade over time. In the case of whiskey, its higher proof of alcohol will degrade the cork eventually if it’s constantly in contact.
2. Store indoors at a stable temperature
An outdoor storage area for your whiskey may not be the most convenient. It’s best to find a place inside your home that doesn’t receive direct sunlight. If your home is airconditioned, any container away from sunlight should be enough to store whiskey.
The temperature and light levels of the storage room are essential for keeping your whiskeys tasting and smelling great. Places such as a cellar (if you have one) can be great for whiskey storage. You can also keep your stash in the attic or garage.
3. Avoid sunlight at all costs
Direct exposure to sunlight or other intense light sources is the number one enemy of whiskey. When left to expose, chemical reactions will start to occur inside the liquid that will degrade its quality. The UV rays break down the molecules and give whiskey its washed-out color. This causes most of the flavor compounds and aroma of the whiskey to get dull. The liquid itself isn’t the only one spoiled by direct sunlight as both the cork and labels are affected too.
4. Don’t freeze your whiskey
Freezing your whiskey bottles won’t cause any permanent harm. However, the flavors will be dull if you directly drink a freezing-cold whiskey. Whiskey, especially expensive ones, are best kept at room temperature. If you enjoy colder whiskey, you can add an ice cube at room temperature to give it a quick chill.
5. Keep the cork moist
Corks are crucial when storing whiskey and other drinks such as wine. They are the ones that protect the liquid from outside influence. That’s why the cork needs care from time to time because a dried-out cork will disintegrate if left for a long time, compromising the whiskey's integrity.
To avoid the cork from drying out, which can spell disaster for the whiskey, you can flip it now and then to damp the cork. Flip the whiskey bottle for about 10 seconds so that the cork can retain its moisture.
How About Opened Whiskey Bottles?
6. Store in airtight decanters or small bottle containers
We won’t always finish a recently opened bottle of whiskey. If you’re planning to bring over friends to finish the rest with you, then you should always put it back in a cool, dark place or a whiskey decanter.
The amount of liquid left in the bottle can affect the whiskey’s lifespan. If it has more than two-thirds left inside, you can safely expect the whiskey to taste the same way a year later. If the bottle has less than half of its liquid left, the lifespan of the original flavor will be much shorter. This is due to oxidation which will happen much quicker; you can expect the flavor to change after a month.
To combat this, you can place leftover whiskey in airtight decanters or small bottle containers. The less air or oxygen the container has, the slower the oxidation process will be.
Storing whiskey isn’t as much of a hassle as storing wine. Even so, you want to preserve its original taste, smell, and appearance so you can enjoy sipping it on your whiskey glass. Enjoyed this article? Share it with your fellow whiskey aficionados. If you know other tips on how to store whiskey properly, let us know in the comment section below.