View Full Version : Bourbon Storage Temperature

Dr. François
09-30-2007, 18:14
Hello. I'm new to the site.
I have a question about bourbon storage temperature.
The store in my town with the best selection (and prices) stores its liquor on a wall behind a counter. Up on the higher racks, the temperature seems to be much hotter than the rest of the store. Is this bad for bourbon? I imagine bourbon is more resilient than wine, but how much more?

Special Reserve
09-30-2007, 18:47
Dr. Fran,

Welcome to the board from Livonia.

I think the only danger would be if the bottle became uncorked. If the bottle sat in a warm environment for a long time and there was a cork failure perhaps it could evaporate faster, but that would be obvious.


09-30-2007, 20:12
The best advice I rec'd. was to always keep it in a cool, dark place, bottles standing up. Especially for long term storage. I heeded the advice.
Joe :usflag:

Dr. François
10-01-2007, 05:56
The first bottle of Buffalo Trace I bought tasted great, though I didn't have a baseline by which to compare. Being a longtime wine drinker, I have no reservations returning a bottle of anything if it shows any signs of cork damage.
I recently purchased a bottle of Elmer T. Lee from another store (with proper storage temperatures) because the store was out of BT. I will need to give BT another try, but I was more than impressed with my first experience.

I'm happy to see another MI member here. Perhaps we should start a separate thread to complain about Michigan's outdated and absurd liquor laws.


10-01-2007, 06:16
I agree with Joe: all things being equal, storage at a cool but ambient temperature, bottle standing, seems best. However, bourbon, being almost half ethanol (and in some cases half or more) is resilient, far more than wine. It takes a lot to damage it. Even admixture of ambient air with the bottle contents won't hurt it necessarily, and the opposite is sometimes true. That store probably does not hold its inventory long enough for there to be any worry about bourbon stored in the way you describe. Only many years' storage at a consistently warm temperature might give me some pause. The only way to know of course is to have a tasting history in your head of the brand in question. That itself, apart from taking time, is problematic because the brands actually change slightly over time, this has been remarked here time and again. Bourbon is partly a natural product (or certainly issue of natural products albeit produced by mechanical processes in part) and therefore it never really tastes the same bottle to bottle; the analogy to wine is appropriate here, to a degree anyway.

I would say, only two things should alert you to anything wrong: first, a strong cork taint in the whiskey. This derives from the same source as for cork-tainted wines. Fortunately, the problem is rare, but it does occur. The second concern is an oxidised whiskey. The tell-tale sign is a metallic-like taste. You know it when you taste it, ultimately. The latter problem is virtually unheard of in terms of buying current inventory. I have had some bad bottles in my time (very few though) but cannot recall an oxidation problem from current inventory.

Current BT (Buffalo Trace) seems to be tasting rich and chocolately these days with a minty and woody overtone. Sometimes, there is an earthy background to the drink, which some people like. Ditto for ETL (Elmer T. Lee) except it tends to be sweeter and richer yet although less complex perhaps.

They are both made by Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, KY, which has a fine reputation. Although the house's Blanton has never been a personal favourite (the odd bottle apart), Buffalo Trace makes a plethora of bourbons and straight ryes meeting almost every taste and proof preference.

You've started with some excellent, very characteristic products of the Kentucky bourbon country.


10-01-2007, 06:33
I'm happy to see another MI member here. Perhaps we should start a separate thread to complain about Michigan's outdated and absurd liquor laws.


Hey Jeremy,
Welcome to SB.com
Complaining about MI's liquor laws and bourbon selection has been done by me and others alot here, but feel free to vent. :cool:

Special Reserve
10-01-2007, 14:34

Complaining about the MI liquor laws would be too easy. Price, selection, availability...


10-01-2007, 18:47
Jeremy, welcom to SB.com (Sparty On!)

As for the complaining, I'm sure only to fall on deaf ears! (not so much on the board here but I'm sure J. Grandholm :smiley_acbt: aint listining). Well welcome from the third Michigander!

Dr. François
10-02-2007, 06:23
Thanks, everyone!

I have to admit, I've actually started stocking up on liquor twice a year when I'm out in Colorado. Better selection, better prices. Unfortunately, it means I have to transport multiple bottles home with me across the country. I have been able to get some great deals on a few bottles that just aren't available here in MI, like the Rittenhouse BIB Rye, which is fantastic. Also, there are several liquor stores large enough to buy entire barrels of certain bourbons, such as Eagle Rare SB 10 year. I bought a bottle from a barrel that was hand selected by the owners of the shop. It wasn't as good as I hoped, but a bargain at $23.

Being that prices are different in MI than in other states, what, IYHO, are the best buys in MI? What are your favorite stores?
In Lansing, Oades Big Ten on Kalamazoo and 127 and Goodrich's Shop-Rite on Trowbridge are the best places to get good advice.

10-02-2007, 08:42
I don't have a favorite store but there are a few I frequent!

Embassy Market 12 Mile and I-94 (They'll have it but you may pay for it)

BB's 13 Mile and Schoennherr and 21 Mile and Schoennherr (Shaynor) (Great selection prices vary per location)

most of the time I'll stop in if I take a different way home and look at their selection. Some times I can find a place that has old pricing and has not marked everything up yet.

I found a bottle of Rittenhouse 21 yr. the guy wants $169 for it plus the (you know) Sales tax add 6% and I have a feeling he'll be sitting on a dusty in about 5 or 6 years.

If your ever over on the East Side let me know! Are you from the East Lansing area or just for school??