5 Proper Steps to Preserving Whiskey

Preserving the bursting flavor of your whiskey allows you to preserve the enjoying it without loss of quality. These 5 key factors protect the taste and the character of your whiskey.  We’ve heard the saying “fine wine comes with time.” Not so with whiskey.

Whiskey will retain its flavor and quality if you follow these 5 simple keys to properly preserve it.

1. Storage

To maintain the quality of your whiskey, place your bottle in a dark area of your home that is not exposed to sunlight.

Daily exposure to sunlight will extinguish the life of your whiskey by causing a chemical reaction in the alcohol’s volatile bonds, affecting the ethereal salts. In other words, exposure to sunlight will alter the salutary flavors of your bottle, creating a rancid taste. Long-term exposure to the sun will also affect the color and accelerate the evaporation of alcohol.

Ideal places to store your whiskey:

  • A basement or cellar
  • Inside a kitchen cabinet that is not near the stove or other heat sources
  • In the pantry (not near a window)
  • Inside a hallway closet
  • In a liquor cabinet away from heat and light

The key is to find a dark place that has a shelf for your bottle.

2. Position

Storing your bottle in upright (vertical) position will protect your whiskey from gradual disintegration. When a bottle of whiskey is placed horizontally, it is in constant contact with the cork which causes oxygen to enter the bottle, creating oxidization of the alcohol content. Storing the bottle on its side will affect both the taste and the proof of your alcohol.

3. Temperature

The ideal room temperature for storing whiskey is between 59°F to 68°F. You do not want the temperature to fluctuate more than 3-4 degrees above that range.  Constant fluctuations in room temperature cause oxygen to flow into the bottle which can damage the whiskey.

Do not store whiskey in your freezer for any extended period.  It will dull the flavors. It’s better to use an ice cube if you want your beverage to be chilled.

4. Keep the Cork Moist

As stated earlier, your bottle of whiskey should be stored in a vertical position.  This in itself helps protect your whiskey and cork. In most cases the alcohol vapors in the bottle will provide enough moisture to keep your cork moist. Although it’s important to prevent the constant contact of the cork to the alcohol, there’s a trick that can help moisten the cork.  If you want to avoid cork fragments in your whiskey when you open a new bottle – or reopen one that’s been stored for a long time – tip the bottle over periodically to moisten it slightly.  Some experts recommend doing this about once a month.  Keep in mind, some corks are of less quality than others and will break even with periodic moisture maintenance.

5. The Transfer

Once your whiskey has reached a quarter in its original volume, it can begin to experience oxygenation due to the ratio of air to liquid in the bottle. To reduce this risk, transfer the remaining whiskey into a smaller container.  You can use a small decanter, preferably one you can fill to the rim, and cap it with an acceptable stopper.  This reduces the amount of oxygen available in the bottle to interact with the whiskey. Ensure your decanter seals well to help minimize evaporation of alcohol.

Following these 5 keys for preserving your whiskey will keep both the flavor and the quality of your whiskey intact for your enjoyment.