How do you store whiskey correctly? A guide to storing the noble drink.

Geschrieben von: Delia Goetzke



Lesezeit min

There are two basic types of storage:

The world of whiskey is full of secrets, flavors and traditions. Whether you are a seasoned whiskey connoisseur or new to the world of spirits, storing your whiskey properly is vital to preserving the full flavor and aroma of this fine beverage. In this blog post, we will show you how to store your whiskey properly in order to achieve optimal quality and an unforgettable drinking experience.

Storage in the barrel:

  • Traditional Method: Whiskey is often aged in wooden casks for many years to develop its character and flavor.
  • Wood Influence : The wood of the cask imparts aromas and flavors to the whiskey such as vanilla, smoke, fruit and spice. This influence of the wood is an essential part of the taste experience for many whiskey lovers.
  • Complexity: During aging in the cask, the whiskey interacts with its surroundings, leading to chemical reactions and adding complexity and depth to the whiskey.
  • Aging Process: Aging in the cask allows the whiskey to develop and take on different flavor profiles. This process can take years and requires patience and diligence on the part of the manufacturer.

Storage in the bottle:

  • Completed Maturation: By the time the whiskey is bottled from the cask, the maturation process is essentially complete. The bottle then acts as the "seal" of the whiskey.
  • Stability: The whiskey in the bottle generally remains stable and does not undergo any further changes in taste and aroma. This means that the whiskey tastes as it was when it was bottled.
  • Slow Oxidation: Although the maturation process is complete, slow oxidation can take place in the bottle, which can subtly alter the whiskey. However, this is a very slow process that usually takes place over a long period of time.
  • Selection and presentation: Bottle storage allows for a wider selection of whiskeys for consumers. It also opens up the possibility of collecting and displaying different types of whiskey, as the bottles are often designed to be aesthetically pleasing.

It is important to note that cask and bottle aging have different purposes and results. Cask aging focuses on the development and maturation of the whisky, while bottle aging preserves the finished whiskey and prepares it for sale and consumption.

As a consumer, what do I have to consider when storing my bottle?

A. Temperature and Humidity

Proper temperature and humidity are critical to whiskey storage to preserve its quality and integrity.

The ideal storage temperature for whiskey is between 12 and 20 degrees Celsius. A constant temperature is important to avoid fluctuations that could negatively affect the whiskey. Temperatures that are too high can cause the whiskey to age faster and develop undesirable aromas, while temperatures that are too low can slow down the maturation process. It is advisable to protect the whiskey from extreme temperature changes as this can lead to accelerated oxidation and alteration of the taste.

Humidity is another important factor when storing whiskey. A moderate humidity of about 50-70% is ideal. Excessive humidity can cause mold to form on the labels or even the cork, which can affect the quality of the whiskey. Too low humidity can cause the cork to dry out and air to enter the bottle, which in turn can lead to oxidation and flavor changes. To control humidity, you can use humidity control agents such as humidifiers or desiccants as needed.

B. light and UV radiation

Light, especially UV radiation, can negatively affect the whiskey and lead to undesirable changes in taste. Therefore, the whiskey should be protected from direct sunlight.

Dark rooms or special whiskey cabinets offer ideal protection from light. If special storage facilities are not available, opaque cartons or containers can be used to protect the whiskey from UV rays. It is also advisable to leave the whiskey in sealed packaging for added protection.

C. Location and positioning of the bottles

The location and positioning of the whiskey bottles are also important factors in proper storage.

A cool and well ventilated room is ideal for whiskey storage. Extreme heat or humidity should be avoided to avoid degrading the quality of the whiskey. A basement or cool closet can be good options for maintaining a constant temperature.

The positioning of the bottles can also have an impact on the whisky. It is recommended to store the bottles upright to protect the cork from drying out and prevent air infiltration. If the whiskey is closed with a screw cap or plastic cork, the storage position is less important.

Storage of wine bottles
Wine bottles should be stored lying down. Photo by Gabriele Strasky on Unsplash
Storage whiskey
Whiskey bottles should always be stored upright. Photo by S. Tsuchiya on Unsplash

And once I open my bottle, what then?

Storing opened bottles of whiskey requires special attention to preserve the quality and flavor of the whisky. Here are some tips on how to properly store opened bottles of whiskey:

  1. air sealing:
    After opening the bottle, it is important to protect the whiskey from exposure to oxygen. Air can cause the whiskey to oxidize and alter its flavor. Make sure the bottle cap is tightly closed to minimize oxygen exchange. In case the original cap is lost or damaged, you can use special whiskey caps or stoppers to ensure a better seal.

  2. Store Upright: Opened bottles should ideally be stored upright. This minimizes the whiskey's exposure to air and reduces the risk of increased oxidation. Standing the bottle upright also helps prevent the cork from drying out and ensures a better seal.

  3. Cool and Dark: Store opened whiskey bottles in a cool and dark place to preserve the quality of the whisky. Heat and sunlight can adversely affect the whiskey and lead to faster oxidation. A cool room, such as a closet or pantry, provides a suitable environment for storing opened bottles.

  4. Duration of consumption: Whiskey is an alcoholic beverage that can change flavor over time after opening. While some types of whiskey can maintain their quality over time, others can be more delicate. It is recommended that the whiskey is enjoyed within a reasonable period of time to ensure the best possible taste. The length of time depends on the type of whisky, storage and personal preferences. Some experts recommend consuming opened bottles within six months to a year to ensure optimal quality.

By following these storage tips, you can ensure opened bottles of whiskey stay fresh and flavorful for longer. Enjoy your whiskey in moderation and explore the aromas and nuances it develops over time. Slainthe!

Our experiences with open bottles:

We asked ourselves whether it is really that negative to leave the whiskey in an open bottle for a long time. Especially when you have bought a high-quality bottle of whiskey and it tastes great on the first dram, you naturally want to keep it that way for as long as possible.

My first experiment was a Lagavulin Distillers Edition in 2013. I thought the first dram was delicious. So I put a 4cl sample aside immediately after opening the bottle.
After about 9 months I compared this sample with the almost empty bottle. Unfortunately, when blind tasting, it was immediately noticeable that a dram tastes stale and has lost much of its smokiness. That was the rest of the full bottle.

But there was also the mutual effect. I remember an old Signatory Cask Strength Glenburgie. The taste was alcoholic and had no fruit notes or anything else. Just one sided. After about 2 months in the cupboard in the opened (closed, of course) bottle, the oxygen helped give the Glenburgie what it was missing. Complexity, fruitiness and no more alcoholic sharpness.

I've started filling the bottles in my house bar in 10cl samples when about half have been drunk.

Our samples. A chance to taste welcomed bottles.
Our samples. A chance to taste welcomed bottles.


Storing whiskey properly is an essential part of enjoying this fine beverage. From the optimal storage environment to choosing the right container to taking time and age into account, there are many aspects to consider. By following the tips and recommendations in this article, you can ensure your whiskey retains the best possible flavor and quality. So take the time to store your whiskey properly and let yourself be enchanted by its rich aromas and unparalleled taste. Slainthe

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