Whiskey Shelf Life: How Long Can Whiskey Be Stored?

Whether you are an aspiring whiskey collector or just curious about whiskey, you might find yourself with questions about whiskey shelf life. How long whiskey can be stored is a more complex question than you might think. Read more to learn what you need to consider when storing your whiskey and how to store it properly for optimal shelf life.

Whiskey Shelf Life: How Long Can Whiskey Be Stored?

Unopened Whiskey

Unopened whiskey, like other types of liquor, can be stored indefinitely. The alcohol content makes the whiskey resistant to the growth of bacteria, so it won’t spoil. In addition, there is no risk of oxidation if the bottle is unopened. You can head over to a craft distillery and stillhouse, buy that whiskey you’ve had your eye on, and save it on your shelf for a special occasion without worrying about it expiring.

How you store unopened whiskey strongly influences its shelf life, though. It will not continue to mature in the bottle, but it will slowly evaporate because of its cork seal. You must store it upright and never expose it to sunlight, which risks damaging the pigment, and lower temperatures are ideal to prevent extra evaporation. Once you take all of these precautions, unopened whiskey could last more than ten years in storage.

Opened Whiskey

Similar storage rules apply for opened whiskey, such as storing it away from light, keeping its temperature cool, and storing it upright. And once you open it, things get more complicated. Not only does open whiskey have a finite shelf life, but how long it will stay good depends on how much of the whiskey you’ve already poured. If you have open whiskey, you might consider decanting it into smaller bottles and sealing it better to increase its shelf life.

More Than Half-Full

Over time, whiskey will begin to oxidize from the oxygen in the empty part of the bottle. Once the whiskey is opened, the taste will begin to change, and whether it becomes better or worse is unpredictable. However, if you have a bottle of whiskey that is more than halfway full and stored properly, the shelf life is probably between one to two years (some say it could be up to five).

Less Than Half-Full

This is the type of whiskey that must be used or sealed. More oxygen in the bottle will cause the whiskey to oxidize more quickly. For example, if you have a bottle of whiskey that is about a quarter full, it could expire after around six months, so it’s best not to have several open bottles of whiskey at a time. Of course, remember to always drink responsibly and with moderation.

As you now know, how long whiskey stays good on the shelf depends on a few factors. It’s essential to store opened and unopened whiskey upright and away from light and significant temperature fluctuations, and you must take extra precautions for opened whiskey. But whiskey does last a long time, so don’t worry about buying an extra bottle.

Categories: General

Nicolas Desjardins

Hello everyone, I am the main writer for SIND Canada. I've been writing articles for more than 10 years and I like sharing my knowledge. I'm currently writing for many websites and newspapers. All my ideas come from my very active lifestyle, every day I ask myself hundreds of questions to doctors, specialists, and physicians. I always keep myself very informed to give you the best information. In all my years as a computer scientist made me become an incredible researcher. I believe that any information should be free, we want to know more every day because we learn every day. Most of our medical sources come from Canada.ca and government research. You can contact me on our forum or by email at info@sind.ca.

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