how to store the glenlivet
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6 ideas for storing whisky at home

It’s all well and good knowing how to drink whisky, but how do you store it?

Safely stowed, a bottle of The Glenlivet can be enjoyed months, or even years, after opening. As a general rule a cool, odour-free environment of medium humidity is best to ensure your favourite whiskies are kept in tip-top condition.

Here’s what you can do to make sure that exceptional bottle which has been sitting patiently in the cabinet all this time is best prepared for the momentous moment of opening…


1. Avoid direct light

Always store your whisky away from direct sunlight. Over time the sun’s rays can potentially deteriorate the condition of a whisky, as well as cause the label to fade.

2. Keep the bottles upright

Make sure your whisky stands tall. Whisky bottles should never be stored on their side, they should always be kept upright.

3. Keep the conditions cool

You want the temperature to be cool but not too cold (as this can make the whisky cloudy or evaporate). You shouldn’t store whisky in the fridge or freezer. The ideal temperature is between 15 to 20°C.

4. Avoid humidity

If whisky gets hot it can expand the bottle and damage the cork seal. Keep your bottles in a dry, cool place.

5. Keep sealed once opened

Knowing how to store whisky once opened is important. Once you’ve started a bottle of whisky, store it in a sealed container to avoid it being exposed to oxygen. Swap the cork for a bottle cap or keep it in a decanter with a tight seal.

6. Finish off nearly empty bottles

Many of us have a particular bottle reserved for special occasions. If you’re intending to keep your whisky for a long time, it will retain more of its vibrancy if you decant it into a smaller bottle once there is roughly half left.

But why use a decanter for whisky? Well, whisky can oxidise over time, and lose some of its perceived character. By decanting it into a smaller bottle, there will be less interaction with the air. Transfer bottles with less than a third left into a new container or get some friends over for a whisky tasting party!


Does whisky ever go off?

Technically whisky doesn’t go off or expire. Stored correctly, unopened whisky can last indefinitely; there’s a reason why so many rare whisky types and aged bottles are worth a bomb decades later! Unlike wine, whisky does not mature or change its flavour in the bottle over time.

How long does whisky last once opened?

But, once you open the bottle, you have a timeline before it goes bad.  Store in proper conditions and you can expect your whisky to last a couple of years.

The shelf life of open bottles of whisky is influenced by factors such as exposure to air, light, and temperature. Over time, the whisky may undergo gradual oxidation, which can alter its flavour profile. However, this process usually takes a long time, and many people find that the changes are minimal over the first few years.

However, you should try to finish half-empty bottles within 6 months. This is because when there is less whisky in the bottle, there is a larger surface area of whisky exposed to the air. The increased air-to-liquid ratio allows more oxygen to come into contact with the whisky, accelerating the oxidation process.

How to tell if your whisky has gone bad

Whisky doesn’t go bad or become unsafe to consume in the same way that other liquids, like milk, do. However, over time, it can undergo changes that can put a dampener on your dram:

Unpleasant aroma and/or taste: If the whisky has a foul or off-putting odour, or if it tastes significantly different from its original state, it may have undergone changes that affect its quality.

Cloudiness: While whisky is generally a clear spirit, certain circumstances, such as extreme temperature changes or exposure to light and air, can cause cloudiness. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean the whisky is spoiled; it might just be an aesthetic change.

Sediment: Sediment or floating particles in the whisky could indicate a breakdown of compounds over time or that naturally occurring lipids have precipitated out of the solution due to cold storage temperatures. This is more common in older or cask-strength whiskies, and especially in non-chill filtered whisky.

Leaking or deteriorated seal: If the bottle has a damaged or deteriorated seal, it may allow air to enter the bottle, leading to increased oxidation and potential flavour changes. This doesn’t mean that the whisky cannot be consumed but its character may not be the same as when originally bottled.

Evaporation: If a bottle has been partially consumed over an extended period, there may be a noticeable decrease in the liquid level due to evaporation. This can concentrate the remaining whisky, potentially affecting its flavour.

If you notice any of the signs mentioned above, it’s a good idea to sample the whisky and assess whether you still enjoy its flavour. If in doubt, trust your senses, and if the whisky no longer meets your taste preferences, don’t drink it!


One of the pleasures of owning a whisky collection is showing it off. Instead of hiding bottles away in cupboards or behind boxes, make the most of your home bar by creating a feature in your home.

If space is limited, why not put up a whisky shelf in your kitchen and put your bottles on display. Or fill an empty corner with a wooden storage box or glass cabinet. You can get as fancy as you like with uplighting, a decanter and easy-access glasses for drinking.

How you organise your whisky collection is up to you. A-Z of distilleries, favourite ones first or perhaps a map of origin – the choice is yours.


Want to make even more out of your whisky? Find out what to do with empty whisky bottles in our DIY guide or discover how to celebrate World Whisky Day in 2023. You can also view our classic cocktail recipes to find the perfect way to enjoy your bottle of The Glenlivet.