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Tracy Hightower
11-30-2007, 22:09
How long can a bottle of scotch or bourbon for that matter be stored and still be drinkable if the bottle seal is still intact?

I am more of a collector than a drinker but I would also like to try some from time to time.

For instance, I just purchased an 8 year old Ambassador Scotch that was bottled in 1956. It was only $25.00 so I do not expect it to increase much in value so is it still drinkable?

Thanks!

TNbourbon
11-30-2007, 22:19
Inside a sealed bottled, whisk(e)y is virtually inert -- thus, that blended Scotch shouldn't be any different from the day it was bottled.
Even after opening, high-proof spirits are remarkably stable. No part of a bottle is ever empty -- any space is filled with air and, thus, oxygen -- but its effect on the whiskey will be slow. Frankly, I've never had a bottle of bourbon/whiskey that I thought 'faded' after opening, and I just finished recently some I opened 5 or so years ago.

Tracy Hightower
11-30-2007, 22:45
Thanks Tim,

That is good to know. One other question if you do not mind. Whether a bottle is opened or sealed, is there any special storage requirements to keep it drinkable such as keeping it away from light or refrigeration?

I collected wine for years and wine is not as forgiving as distilled spirits apparantly are. If you purchased a bottle where you did not know its provenance, the fact that the bottle was sealed did not mean it was not ruined.

Rughi
12-01-2007, 02:09
...is there any special storage requirements to keep it drinkable such as keeping it away from light or refrigeration?

Spirits are indeed very forgiving compared to wine. A minimal amount of protection from light and temperature extremes should be all the spirit requires for decades of storage. In fact, if you are a collector, the amount of care you would use to protect the label and wax/foil tops should be care enough for the spirits inside. Also, keeping the closure tight to prevent overly much air interaction is good. Some screw-ons can use a bit of tightening for the long haul.

Once a bottle has been sampled down some, if you wish to go long with it the spirits can be transferred to a smaller bottle with minimal headroom and the clock will tick slowly on it. I've posted about storing samples in 4oz bottles (http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5178&highlight=gift), which you may find interesting.

The main vulnerability for spirits seems to be corks. If they are overly loose they can allow too much interaction, but they also can impart similar types of "corking" from infected or decaying cork as wines can get. Prevailing wisdom is to not allow the spirits to rest against the cork (no side storage). Some like to wet the cork occasionally by holding the bottle upside down for a few seconds, others feel it's better not to.

Bottom line, some of the best bourbon you could ever taste has been in the bottle for decades. Jerry Dalton recently wrote that much of the old fashioned character many of us favor is due to years of slow change in the bottle, not changes in distilling over the years. This is not a commonly held view, but he has strong credentials.

Roger

Tracy Hightower
12-01-2007, 07:11
Thanks Rughi and Tim,

That was the kind of info I was looking for.

camduncan
12-01-2007, 13:26
Several of the bottles I picked up whilst overseas are unavailable in Australia, so I tend to pour them lightly, drink them very slowly, and not have them all that frequently (maybe one pour a month). The oldest open bottles are from the UK in October 2004. None taste any different to my recollection of how they tasted three years ago. For the record, my open bottles from this trip are Old Rip Van Winkle 10yo, Old Rip Van Winkle 13yo Rye and Buffalo Trace. All are sitting at somwhere between 1/3 and 1/2 level.

mier
12-03-2007, 07:35
You can keep a closed bottle good for decades but there is a turning point that the drink getting less tastier or gets bad,when that is?..time will tell.Never put it away laying like wine,the alcohol can solve the glue the cork is attached to the lid.An open bottle stays good for a considerable time but the more oxygen comes in,the lesser the taste will be.Whiskydistillers and collectors advise to finish a bottle quick when there`s only a quarter left.
Eric.

Hedmans Brorsa
12-03-2007, 10:13
In my experience, the nose deteroriates much faster than the taste, when it comes to opened bottles. In extreme cases this happens already after a month or so.

The taste, however, remains unchanged. I have no idea why this is.

velocci
12-03-2007, 10:59
hi there, i live in Southern Ontario and collect unopened whisky bottles. Is it ok to store these bottles in my celler where the temperatures range significantly thoughout the year? I've never actually measured the temperature in my celler but the outside temperature can reach as low as -30 degrees celcius in winter and go as high as 35 degrees celcius in the summer.

mier
12-04-2007, 03:01
In my experience, the nose deteroriates much faster than the taste, when it comes to opened bottles. In extreme cases this happens already after a month or so.

The taste, however, remains unchanged. I have no idea why this is.
Aetheric oils vaporise quicker when exposed to more oxygen as the bottle gets emptier,my expierience is that if a bottle is only a quarter full the whisky starts getting a lesser taste.No problem it is an excuse to have one more.
Eric.

cowdery
12-04-2007, 17:51
hi there, i live in Southern Ontario and collect unopened whisky bottles. Is it ok to store these bottles in my celler where the temperatures range significantly thoughout the year? I've never actually measured the temperature in my celler but the outside temperature can reach as low as -30 degrees celcius in winter and go as high as 35 degrees celcius in the summer.

As the others have said, high proof spirits are extremely stable, but the temperature extemes you describe might be pushing the envelope somewhat. One possibility with extreme heat and corked bottles is that internal pressure could loosen or actually push the corks out.

JamesH007
12-04-2007, 23:00
For instance, I just purchased an 8 year old Ambassador Scotch that was bottled in 1956
Thanks!

I have a bottle of Ambassador as well, funny looking bottle (the gold medal with what I assume to be an ambassador in the center) Have never seen or heard of another bottle, have you ever tasted it ?

I store my bottles in a cellar; all standing up and have only had a couple of bad bottles ( tasted like camphor), that were probobly that way long before they went to my cellar.

Have considered ways to preserve bottles quite a bit. One idea I had come up with, but have yet to try is vacuum seal bottles that are for very long term storage. Have also heard of people putting clig wrap aroung the neck/top seal.

Tracy Hightower
12-05-2007, 09:18
James,

The bottle I purchased has not arrived yet. I hope it does not taste like Camphor. That was one of my mothers miracle cures for everything when I was a child. That could bring back some bad memories.

:)

Hedmans Brorsa
12-05-2007, 10:12
Aetheric oils vaporise quicker when exposed to more oxygen as the bottle gets emptier,my expierience is that if a bottle is only a quarter full the whisky starts getting a lesser taste.No problem it is an excuse to have one more.
Eric.

Yes, but in the cases Ive noted, this deterioration has set in already after a month or so, despite the fact that the bottle has been something like three quarters full.

It is as if just opening the bottle, sets off a process of decay. These whiskies are in the minority, however. I have to stress that.