How long does an unopened bottle of whiskey last?

Storing whiskey is not aging whiskey

In general, a bottle of whiskey can last at least 10 years or possibly a lot longer if kept preciously unopened. Many external factors can potentially impact your whiskey’s shelf life. For example, the condition of its storage’s environment, which can be affected by humidity and lightning. If you want your bottle of whiskey to last longer, following the steps below will ensure that your whiskey will last as long as possible.

The proper way to store an unopened bottle of whiskey

This is what all whiskey collectors should know. To keep a bottle of whiskey properly stored, all the aspects of the storage environment must be properly controlled. This includes the air, temperature, humidity, and even the level of light. Every bottle of whiskey has to be stored correctly from day one if you want to maximize its life span.

Moreover, whiskey should be kept upright and not exposed to direct sunlight. The storage place should always be below room temperature and should not be too humid. An unopened bottle of whiskey will not oxidize which is the number 1 thing to avoid.

Does Whiskey age in a bottle?

Unfortunately, the answer to this question is no. Unlike wine, a bottle of whiskey matures only in the cask before it is bottled and most spirits also mature this way as well. Whiskey doesn’t mature once it is in the bottle. This means a bottle of whiskey is sold pre-aged and over time its flavor will still be the same. For example, a bottle of 10-year-old scotch will always be a 10-year-old scotch despite how many years you have kept it.

If stored properly, the flavor will only change after the bottle is opened. The oxidation will start after the oxygen reaches the spirit in the bottle. Therefore, keeping the bottle of whiskey doesn’t increase its value. That being said, unless you want to save it for a special occasion, there is actually no point to go through all the hassles to store it for a long time.

How to store an open bottle of whiskey?

If your bottle of whiskey is already opened and you want to store what’s left, there is a proper way to do so. As we all know, whiskey will lose its original taste after the bottle is opened as the oxidation process will start as soon as the outside air gets inside the bottle. While there is no way to prevent that, a few steps can be taken to slow the oxidation process down:

  1. First, if your bottle of whiskey has a cork, it would be a great idea to put an additional cap on top of it to firmly seal the bottle and prevent your whiskey from evaporating.
  2. However, temperature also plays a big role since the warmer it gets, the faster the liquid will evaporate. Therefore, try to keep the bottle at a good room temperature at all times.
  3. In case that your bottle of whiskey has a screw cap, don’t forget to tighten the cap regularly since it will loosen over time.

In conclusion,  preventing the air from getting into the bottle is the most important thing to do. That said, the oxidation will always happen sooner or later and that will affect the flavor profile and color of the whiskey.

Does a half-full bottle of whiskey last longer?

Another fun fact, leftover whiskey can last a lot longer when the bottle is more than half full. Indeed, a half-full bottle can last roughly around 5 years. However, once it has reached below the halfway mark, its shelf life will decrease to only one or two years. That has to do with how much space is left inside the bottle since more space means more air. And you probably guessed it by now, more air means a faster oxidation process. Therefore, the way to save your leftover whiskey after it reaches the halfway mark is to drain it into a smaller glass bottle to minimize the amount of air in the bottle and to slow down the oxidation process.

How many types of whiskey are there?

There are primarily only 2 types of whiskey which are malt and grain. The grain is made from many types of grain and malt is made mostly from barley. Between those 2, there are many sub-categories such as Bourbon, Corn, Malt, Rye, and Wheat.

  • Blended malt whiskey is a single malt whiskey coming from various distilleries
  • Barrel select whiskey is pretty unique since only the ultimate whiskeys are normally bottled that way.
  • Blended whiskey is a combination of malt and grain that also mix whiskey from several distilleries.
  • Single barrel whiskeys are bottled from a single cask, the bottles are usually numbered.
  • Single malt whiskey is a whiskey from a single distillery made from a specific malted grain, normally barley.

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