View Full Version : Whiskey Storage

08-17-2005, 10:13

I thought, until recently, that whiskey could be stored for many years in an opened bottle without negative effects. I just found out that is true to a certain extent but if the bottle is less than 1/2 full the whiskey will start to deteriorate due to too much air.

I tend to like to drink a lot of different whiskies over time instead of opening a bottle and concentrating on that.

I was also told a remedy of this situation is Vacu Vin Pump.
Does anyone use this? Does it work well with whiskey?


08-17-2005, 11:05
The restaurant I used to work for used the Vac-U-Vin for a while and found that for long-term storage(in restaurant terms this is 3 days for wine) it was useless. We finally switched to Private Preserve. This is a gas blanket that is heavier than air and therefor sits on top of the wine(or in this case whiskey) and blocks the air from contacting and oxidizing the wine. Though I've never tried it at home for my whiskey, now that I think about it, I woulkdn't feel so bad about having a dozen or more open bottles if I used it.

Hope this helps

08-17-2005, 11:28
I asked a very similar question a while back and the consenus answer was 'As long as the whisky is used in 6 mo- 1 year you should be fine. Now I know there are those rare finds people just want to nurse along forever, but, for me, finishing a bottle in a year is not a problem. I feel very comfortable having 2-4 open at any given time. I get the sense here most people have more (a lot more?) open.

Good addendum - What do you have open right now??

For me:

WT Rare Breed
WT 101
Eagle Rare SB
Forty Creek Barrel Select
Old Potrero Straight Rye

Okay and two Scotchs

Lagavulin 16
Laphroaig 10



08-17-2005, 12:12
I would definitely not use any vacuum-based system because the more volatile whiskey components are preferentially pumped away (evacuated from the head space above the whiskey) and the flavor and nose will definitely change. How much? Depends on how many times the pumping procedure happens. Maybe this will be a positive thing, more likely negative, but definitely the whiskey will not be unchanged, which subverts the purpose of the blanket gas.

I would also avoid any blanketing gas containing carbon dioxide, since this can dissolve in the whiskey to some extent and that gives somewhat carbonated whiskey, i.e., in situ whiskey and soda. The best blanketing gases would be ones such as these:
1) xenon (Xe), which is chemically almost completely inert, MUCH denser than air or carbon dioxide (gas density at typical temperatures and pressures is directly proportional to molecular weight), and even acts like laughing gas (nitrous oxide) but is FAR too expensive to use. Krypton gas is not as good as Xe, but is less expensive and does not have the laughing gas anxiety-reducing property;

2) sulfur hexafluoride, which is relatively highly chemically inert and VERY dense, but also too expensive; and

3) nitrous oxide (aka "laughing gas"), which is denser than air, relatively chemically inert, and has that obvious characteristic that could make popping the cork even more fun. But it's expensive and supports combustion (so the bottle could be a serious fire/explosion hazard, esp. with Stagg 2003, and probably illegal), though it does NOT support respiration and would NOT oxidize, without a source of ignition, any of the hundreds of chemical substances in bourbon or scotch, etc.

None of the above are really feasible. That leaves nitrogen, which is cheap and readily available, but slightly less dense than air, so more flushing is needed, and argon, which is inert and more dense that air, but harder to get. A mixture of nitrogen and argon would be fine.

08-17-2005, 13:16
Off the top of my head:

Eagle Rare 17, George T Stagg, Buffalo Trace, AAA 10, Weller 12, Hirsch 16, Evan Williams Single Barrel, Wild Turkey Russell Reserve, Wild Turkey Rare Breed, Makers Mark.

Sazerac, Jim Beam, Old Potrero 90.

Irish, Jamesons 1780, Jameson's Distillery Reserve, Black Bush, Bushmills Distillery Reserve, Jamesons Dublin Distillery Reserve, Redbreast 12, Connemara Single Malt, Tyrconnell, Greenspot.

Balvenie 10, Balvenie Double Wood, Laphroaig 10, Laphroaig CS, Lagavulin 16, Aberlour Abunadh, Aberlour 15 Sherry, Glenfarclas 12, Cragganmore 12, Bowmore 12, Highland Park 12, Highland Park 18.

You see my problem. What I'm doing is to finish the ones that are almost empty and work from there. In the future I'll only have a few opened at once.

Live, drink, and learn.

08-17-2005, 13:55
I did the exact same thing a few years back. It took me two years to get them all cleaned out now I limit myself to two scotchs and three to four bourbons open at once(plus a rum or two and so on and so forth...)

08-17-2005, 15:53
We've all done that. All had the exact same realization at some point and retracted back to a defensible position.... I don't count the white stuff but I do also have an Espolon Tequila I'm quite fond of.

Overall I have more open right now that I would like but several are on their last legs......

Part of my strategy these day is to open opposites so if I want a big and bold, I have a Booker's going and if I want a smooth I have a Jeffersons reserve.... (this trip to Kentucky is gonna just ruin that system http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/banghead.gif

Oh well



08-17-2005, 16:18
I have a lot of things open, some as long as 3 years. All very upper mid to top shelf and I have no concern about them at all. I have yet to notice any detrimental effects.

08-17-2005, 16:20
That has been my observation as well.
Joe http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/usflag.gif

08-17-2005, 17:29
No, if this is really a concern (as in extremely long storage), the best solution is to remove the whiskey to a smaller bottle with less air at the top.


08-17-2005, 18:24
Exactly right! But it has never actually been a personal concern of mine: I favor just finishing bottles that are nearly empty and not keeping lots of bottles open. Right now, I have open 5 bourbons, 3 ryes and some scotch. I agree with Bobby that bourbon seems pretty immune to changing in the bottle when the bottle, even when the bottle is almost empty. Rye likewise. But some scotches do seem to deteriorate significantly then.

08-17-2005, 19:06
Why not just drop glass marbles into the bottle until the level reaches the desired height?

08-17-2005, 20:14
Talk about thinking outside the box!! I love it....only problem I see is getting your finger wet with bourbon while trying not to let marbles fall into the glass. If having bourbon around for too long ever gets to be a problem for me (it hasn't so far) this is the route I will go!!

08-19-2005, 10:05
I think the key is simply to drink the bourbon before long term storage becomes an issue. I don't mean to sound sarcastic (or alcoholic)here, but in my mind bourbon is made for drinking.

I understand the concept of saving a special bottle for a special occassion and all, but those that are thinking this is an investment opportunity or a great endowment for their heirs are largely kidding themselves. I say invite over some friends and drink up and move on... there are plenty of great bourbons out there to try, with new ones coming along all the time. The one thing they ALL have in common is that they were made to be drunk.

The great thing about bourbon and friends is that they combine to create the tasting experience. I find that even a tried-and-true "everday" bourbon can provide a unique experience with the right friends and the right moment.

I say drink up, enjoy, and move on.... life is to short to do otherwise.

08-27-2005, 10:14
This thread reminds me of a line from "Speed".

"A bomb is meant to explode. That's its meaning - its purpose. Your life is empty because you're trying to stop the bomb from becoming."

No disrespect to anyone who holds onto bottlings to savor later, but I drink the bottles now. But then again I really don't have the funds to both drink bourbon AND stock up on it. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/mad.gif Perhaps a career change is in order.