“How is whiskey stored, what are the ideal storage conditions, what happens if it is kept in the refrigerator, I have 30 years old whiskey inherited from my father/grandfather, is it spoiled or can it be drunk?” Questions like these are among the most frequently asked questions I get, both at my tasting and on social media. In this article, I will try to briefly share with you the answers to these and similar questions about the storage conditions of whiskey.
Does Whiskey Go Bad?
The first thing we need to know before moving on to whiskey storage conditions is the fact that whiskey does not spoil. Due to its high alcohol content, whiskey does not deteriorate, stale or oxidize like low-alcohol drinks such as wine or beer. If you do not expose your whiskey bottles to extreme conditions, you can easily store them at home for many years. Similarly, if you have bottles from your father/grandfather, you can open them and sip with pleasure.
Where Is Whiskey Stored?
First of all, let me state that whiskey is not as fragile as wine or cigar. There is no need for a special cabinet that controls the humidity/temperature level to store the whiskey. Any cabinet, shelf or bar you can create according to your taste will be more than enough to store whiskey. The only point to be considered is that the whiskeys should be stored at room temperature, away from very humid or dry environments and in a place where they will not be exposed to high temperature changes.
How to Store Whisky?
Although whiskey is a type of drink that does not spoil, there are some rules that must be observed in order to preserve the whiskey's character at the maximum level and not to damage the bottle. These;
- Whiskeys should be stored at room temperature (18-24°C) and should not be exposed to high temperature changes.
- The environment should not be too humid or too dry.
- Whiskeys should not be placed in direct sunlight.
- Cork-cap bottles must be stored upright.
- If the whiskey bottle is placed horizontally, the structure of the cork in contact with the whiskey may deteriorate after a while under the influence of high alcohol. In this case, both the whiskey gets more air and the cork that deteriorates can cause problems when opening the whiskey.
- There is a risk of drying the caps of cork-cap bottles that have been waiting in your bar for a long time due to high alcohol. It has never happened to me, but there are cases where the cork caps that dry in this way break when opening the bottle. To prevent this, it may be a solution to turn the bottles on their sides at certain intervals and wet the cork.
- Let me point out that, in general, whiskeys are positioned vertically, although it will not cause a problem if the flip or ball caps are horizontal.
- When re-closing an opened bottle, you should make sure that its mouth is tightly closed and keep it that way.
- Covering the mouth of the bottle you opened with cling film can be a good solution to prevent the whiskey from getting air. This tactic will be effective in preserving the character of the "special" bottles you drink sip by.
Whiskey only matures in a barrel!
A detail that should not be skipped when talking about the storage conditions of whiskey. Whiskey matures only in barrels. Therefore, even if you buy a 12-year-old whiskey and leave it for 10-20 years, your whiskey will still be a 12-year-old whiskey.
Similarly, if you have a bottle that you have inherited from your father or grandfather, that bottle will not have aged over the years, it will simply be obsolete. If this bottle was not a limited edition whiskey in the past, unfortunately it will not have any additional value today.
Whiskey Isn't Perishable, But It Can Be Perishable To You...
Most of us have bottles at home waiting to be opened at special moments. These bottles are special, maybe because of the brand, maybe the price, maybe when it was received, or maybe because of the person who bought the bottle. No matter how special a bottle is, it is only enjoyed when sipped. For this reason, it is always best to consume your most special whiskeys by yourself or with your loved ones without delay. Although we say that whiskey does not spoil, it is worth noting that if you keep a bottle in your bar for too long, it may spoil.
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