How long can a bottle of whisky last?
That is a crucial question that we surely need to know the answer to, in order to safely consume and enjoy the whisky on our shelf before its quality deteriorates in time.
Actually the response to this question is twofold:
A sealed and properly stored whisky (check the "How to store Whisky" article) can actually last forever, no matter how strange that may sound.
Opened bottles require more attention and care than sealed ones. As mentioned in the previous article, in order to keep the cork of a sealed bottle in a good state you will just have to turn the bottle upside down once a month.
Opened bottles require this more often.
If you have already opened several bottles take care to consume their content before opening new ones, since the whisky of an opened bottle will not last more than 1-2 years. Of course, that depends on the storing conditions as well as the amount of whisky remaining inside the bottle. Let us assume that storing conditions are ideal. A unpredictable factor playing an important role on how long will a whisky stay good is oxygen.
The more whisky contained in the bottle the less overlying air exists in it, so less oxygen, less interaction with the whisky, less oxidation and more lifetime for the whisky. In contrast, if the content is around 30% we will have more oxygen and faster oxidation.How exactly does oxidation occur in whisky will be the topic of another article.
How to deal with it
Since all of us have bottles we drink from in special occasions, there are also some good news regarding opened whisky bottles. As soon as content reaches half of the bottle, empty it in a smaller one or in a smaller glass container that can be air-tightly sealed in order to reduce the contained air and expand its lifespan. The best possible choice is those little whisky sample bottles. Another way would be the use of preservative sprays containing nitrogen, carbon dioxide and argon that form a barrier between the alcohol and the oxygen and avert oxidation, or the use of little electronic devices designed to absorb most of the oxygen inside the bottle.
Of course whisky means enjoying yourself - that's why it is produced in the first place - so there is no reason to keep it for more than we should on our shelf. So, fill your glasses and enjoy responsibly!
"Whisky experience, is about gathering memories from each whisky, not just collecting sealed bottles"
Co Founder of www.singlemaltlodge.com