Whisky lovers: do you know how long your whisky will keep?
Pour yourself a wee dram and find out how long your whisky will keep for!
You’ve got a lovely bottle of whisky – but how long does whisky keep for? Does whisky go off once you’ve opened it? All these burning questions and more are answered in honour of whisky drinkers everywhere, whether you like it neat or on the rocks.
How long will whisky keep unopened?
Forever! If you conserve the bottle correctly, it will keep. It’s worth noting that, unlike wine, once bottled, whisky doesn’t mature with age. So, as the Scotch Whisky Association says: ‘Even if you keep a 12 year old bottle for 100 years, it will always be a 12 year old whisky’.
So whisky doesn’t go off?
Correct. If you keep your bottle of whisky away from direct sunlight, the whisky will ‘neither improve or deteriorate’, as the SWA tells us.
And what if the bottle is opened? How long can you keep whisky then?
Same. As long as it’s kept away from sunlight, your beloved whisky won’t go off. If you’ve drunk some of that delicious golden peaty nectar and the bottle is half full (or half empty?), it might be worth decanting the whisky into a smaller bottle, so there’s less airspace in there. In all cases, you need to make sure the bottle is sealed tightly again.
Should you store your whisky lying down or standing up?
Upright is best. But once again, the most important thing to stop your whisky from going off is to make sure it’s not in direct sunlight, so in the drinks cabinet cupboard, rather than on the sideboard or worktop.
We often put vodka in the freezer, should we store whisky in the freezer too?
No. There’s no point in trying to freeze whisky. It won’t freeze in a domestic freezer, as an alcohol like whisky with around 80% proof or 40% abv (alcohol by volume) only freezes at about -27 degrees celsius.
So why do we put vodka in the freezer and not whisky?
As with whisky, vodka won’t actually freeze in your home freezer, but the viscosity of the liquid increases, making the vodka smoother to drink with a better texture. However, it does mute flavours and aromas. That’s the very reason why whisky should never be stored in the freezer or even the fridge. Whisky has a complex blend of flavours and aromas – and that’s not be messed with by a freezer!
My whisky is cloudy! What’s happened?
It’s been stored at a very low temperature. Once back at room temperature, that cloudiness should go.
In that case, how is whisky best served?
At room temperature, so you can fully appreciate that complex bouquet of flavours that come from the maturation process in oak barrels. It was deemed perfect at the moment it was bottled, so just serve your whisky neat in a tumbler, or for the European whisky drinking nations, add a couple of ice cubes.
So just to recap on the crucial question of how long whisky will keep:
- Whisky will not go off if kept out of direct sunlight (unopened or not)
- Whisky does not improve/deteriorate/mature with age
- Keep and drink your whisky at room temperature to fully appreciate its bouquet of aromas
Now you know the answer to the question of how long whisky will keep for. Have our handy hints and tips on how to store whisky whet your appetite to learn more about this popular spirit? We’ve got unique Whisky Connoisseur workshops available at the artisanal Bimber Distillery in London, where you can taste your way through the whole whisky-making process.