How to Store Whisky Without Ruining It
I bet you've found yourself wondering how to store whisky. We all have. Whether you keep your whisky in a box, a cabinet, or your underwear drawer, we've all wondered how long they'll stay fresh. particularly if you keep them with your underwear. Well, don't worry. Having a massive selection of free whisky bottles is a problem for your bank balance, not your pallet. Let's talk about how to store whisky.
And no matter how concerned you are about storing your whisky, it could be worse. You could be a wine drinker.
Bad News for Storing Wine
Open bottles of wine go downhill faster than a Swiss bobsled team. Wine collectors have to anguish over unopened wine, which continues to age in the bottle. Every bottle of wine has an implied “drink by” date. For your average £20 bottle, it’s between three and ten years range, depending on the varietal/blend. After this, the wine loses its character and becomes expensive vinegar.
Good News for Storing Whisky
Whisky doesn't go off like wine. Even a £12 bottle of Bells will still taste like a £12 bottle of Bells in a hundred years. Although inflation might have brought the cost to £15. Whisky’s high alcohol content serves to preserve it indefinitely.
How should I store sealed bottles of whisky?
Everyone knows the rules to take care of a Gremlin:
1. Don’t feed him after midnight.
2. Don’t get him wet.
3. Don’t expose him to sunlight.
4. Don’t let him near your Furby, or he’ll kill it and wear its synthetic skin as a prize.
Whisky is like a Gremlin.
A sealed bottle of whisky has two natural enemies:
Light and wide temperature fluctuations catalyze chemical reactions in volatile compounds. They degrade those tasty esters and congeners in your whisky. An improperly-stored bottle of whisky will still be 40% ABV (or whatever it started at) after a decade or two, but it will taste like you spent £15 on it.
So, store your whisky away from direct sunlight and somewhere the temperature doesn’t fluctuate, the South Pole for example.
You don’t need to have a basement, wine cellar, or one of those fancy things that raise out from your floorboards. Any box, cabinet, or closet inside your home will be excellent. Try to avoid keeping whisky in your loft unless it’s insulated or finished.
How should I store opened bottles of whisky?
An opened bottle of whisky (stored away from light) with more than two-thirds of the whisky can last for about a one year. After that, exposure to oxygen makes the whisky rust.
Well, it’s not rust, but it’s the same basic principle. Oxygen binds with lots of chemical compounds. The process is oxidation and the process turns the compounds into other compounds.
Add oxygen to copper, and you get copper oxide. That's the green crusty stuff on old pennies.
Add oxygen to iron, and you get iron oxide, the red-brown and soft material on iron gates.
Add oxygen to whisky, and you get whisky oxide. Okay, I might have made that last one up.
But, the more contact the whisky has with air, the more oxidation occurs. This means the more air in your bottle, the more oxidation. Luckily, the process is slow, so an inch of air will not be detectable by your taste buds for a year or so.
The One Third Bottle Rule
If 75% of the bottle is air, you’ll notice degradation after as little as a month. Have you ever left whisky in a glass overnight? If you have, you’ll know what I'm talking about. It’s like someone came and replaced your tasty whisky with a protein shake made of mud.
Invite some friends over to enjoy a bottle when it hits the one-third mark. You’ll get a lot more enjoyment out of that third of a bottle by sharing it now than squirrelling it away. Also, you’d hope your friends would invite you around when their whiskies hit the 1/3 mark. If you don’t have any friends, you can decant into smaller bottles or give us a ring, and we’ll help you out.
That’s the kind of altruism you can expect from us, your friends at TopWhiskies.