Whisky is a drink designed for slow consumption. This almost inevitably means that you will have more than one bottle in your bar, and if you are a serious collector, forethought about how you store your spirits is essential.
How and where you keep your whiskies may impact their taste and longevity for opened bottles, while preserving your unopened bottles that you may be saving for a special occasion is equally important. Just as with other spirits, the conditions whisky is exposed to could influence its taste, aromas and distinguishing characteristics. While a cellar is the ideal place to keep your single malts, for those who do not have such a space in their home there are ways to easily store your whisky and keep it in pristine condition.
Does Whisky change during storage?
The minimum alcohol content of whisky is 40%. Oxidation of whisky is not as likely as with other alcoholic drinks such as wine due to the alcohol strength. The most significant change of a whisky with longer term storage in bottle is likely to be due to evaporation. While whisky will not continue to age once it is bottled, these processes can continue to occur once a bottle is opened if it is not sealed properly.
Light and temperature are other environmental factors that can cause whisky to deteriorate before its time. These elements can cause your whisky to evaporate faster, as well as lose its colour and impact its flavour. The ultraviolet rays in direct sunlight will slowly lighten the rich colours of your whisky. Higher temperatures may cause your whisky to evaporate, while extreme low temperatures can cause your whisky to take on a cloudy appearance (although this should disappear once the bottle is restored to room temperature).
Finally, it is important to be mindful of the condition of your cork that you are using to seal your whisky. With removal and replacement of corks over an extended period they may become cracked or damaged. As your cork is the primary tool used to keep your bottle sealed, ensuring it is in good condition is key to the long term storage of your whiskies.
All of these elements may impact on the quality of the whisky, so mindful storage of both your opened and unopened bottles is essential.