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…
HOW TO STORE YOUR WHISKY
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
Once you’ve opened your bottle of whisky, store in a sealed container to avoid it being exposed to oxygen. Swap the cork for a bottle cap or keep 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. This is because whisky can oxidise over time, losing some of its perceived character, and 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!
HOW LONG DOES WHISKY LAST?
Technically whisky doesn’t expire. Stored correctly, unopened whisky can last indefinitely; there’s a reason why so many aged bottles are worth a bomb decades later! 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. Try to finish half empty bottles within 6 months.
WHISKY STORAGE IDEAS FOR YOUR HOME
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.