How long does whisky last?

Posted by   Stuart Lee
How long does whisky last?

How long does whisky last?


I’m sure this is something that’s been on your mind recently, so what better time than now to put all your worries to bed? We’ve scoured our archives and wracked our brains to find the answers, hints and tips that will make your next taster session even better. Here’s everything you need to know.


Does whisky really go off?

It sure does, just like any drink! Now that we’ve cleared that potential red herring up, we can start taking a look at the how, what and why of the matter. Whisky is a complicated beast that contains all sorts of weird and wonderful ingredients — and that’s why we love it so. The downside is that these ingredients give it a shelf life that means you will have to drink it sooner rather than later once you open it. But all is not lost, you still have plenty of time and it’s not that hard to avoid…


How can you tell when your whisky is off?

It won’t taste right — that’s the quick and easy answer. The way in which the flavour changes will depend so much on the type and age of the whisky. So, rather than boring you with the details for every single whisky, we just want you to know that it might taste a little flat or sour, or maybe even have an after taste you weren’t expecting. If it tastes different, the chances are it’s off.


What can you do about it?

The harsh reality is that once your whisky is on the turn, you can’t do anything about it. The ingredients inside have a mind of their own, and no amount of refrigeration, crossing your fingers or hoping for the best is going to reverse the tides. It probably sounds a bit dramatic when we put it like that, but it’s better to know that once it gets to this stage, it’s already to late. That way you can make sure it never happens…


Hang on! So how long does my whisky last???

Take it easy, we’ve got this one. If you want to know how long whisky lasts for, you’ve come to the right place. So slow down, take a breath and listen to the experts. We’ll tell you everything you need to know.


Whisky is aged and lasts for years and years and years when you leave it in the bottle. Provided you store it correctly (more on that later) you can pop it open whenever you feel like it and the taste won’t have changed a jot. The problem is that when you take that cap off, the air comes rushing in and starts meddling with the delicate balance inside. But the good news is your whisky is nowhere near as fussy as that bottle of red that’s already been and gone.


Whisky lasts anywhere from 6-24 months once opened, which makes it a great addition to your mini bar. It’ll be ready and waiting, provided you keep care of it the right way.


If in doubt, play it cool

Making whisky lasts is all about keeping it in the shade, out of harms way and away from the sunshine. If you think of it as a precious block of ice that will melt if you let it get too hot, then you’ll start to get an idea for what we’re talking about.


The best approach is to keep things simple. The fridge can often prove to be overkill, so we prefer a little dedicated cabinet or pantry that doesn’t see any direct sunshine. It’ll make for the perfect addition to the kitchen or dining room, and it saves you having to get your wallet out and cough up for a wine cellar. Although if you’re in the market for a bit of expensive building work, adding one to your home will be the best way to really answer the question ‘how long does whisky last?’ in style. No pressure on that one folks! We don’t blame you if you decide to stick with the cabinet idea.


Does this apply to custom whisky bottles?

It sure does, and you don’t have to rub your eyes and ask why my friend. A custom bottle is made in exactly the same way, it just has a different label stuck on it. That means the contents are identical, it just looks a little different. If you want to know how to look after your custom whisky bottle and make it last, all you have to do is take a look at the wise words in this piece and put them into action. Just what you want to hear when you’re looking for a way to keep it as good as new for years to come.


How much wiggle room is there with opened whisky?

We get it, 6-24 months is certainly a pretty broad time frame, but that doesn’t mean you have to always get it down you in 6 months or less. If you want to make the most of your whisky and really make it last, keep it cool, out of direct sunlight, and away from anyone who’s likely to get their clumsy hands on it! Aside from that, you’ll also want to think about decanting it into a small bottle as your supply starts to dwindle. That way there’ll be less air in the bottle to start meddling with the mixture.


Does this mean I can wait longer?

It means you can wait a little longer, yes. I bet that’s a relief to those of you who thought you were going to have to rush through a couple of bottles of the good stuff and miss out on the chance to enjoy it.


Now you can go wild, kick back and celebrate with your favourite vintage. At the same time, why don’t you text your mates some of the whisky trivia we’ve just shared with you, or treat them to a custom bottle that will make them smile from the moment it arrives


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