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  1. #1

    Hello & 1st Question ... Does whiskey go bad?

    Greetings everyone, from a new guy ~

    I suspect this has been asked more than once, however, I did a search and still haven't quite found what I'm looking for.

    Anyway, my question is really two-part.

    I was recently given (yesterday) an opened bottle of Jack Daniel's. The whiskey was originally bottled approximately 30 years ago but was never actually opened until somewhere around 5-6 years ago. And when I received it the bottle was a little more than 2/3 full.

    So, I'd like to get opinions on *whether or not it is still drinkable* ... certainly from a "general quality" standpoint, but equally important, also from an "any 'health concerns' standpoint" (hope that makes sense) given the ages involved.

    How has this whiskey been affected:

    1. from the 0-25yr mark - unopened.

    2. from the 25-30yr mark - opened.

    And really #3. the two time frames combined ?

    Thanks for your input - I really appreciate it.

  2. #2

    Re: Hello & 1st Question ... Does whiskey go bad?

    You might look here for an answer to your question #1:

    As for #2, maybe or maybe not. If the bottle still remains largely full of whiskey (the other part is filled with air/oxygen), there has probably been little change. As the level lowers, of course the ratio of oxygen:whiskey increases, and so the chance of some taste change exists -- but it will occur slowly, and over a very long time. In 5-6 years, you might note some.
    The answer to #3 is closely related to the answer to #2.

    The short of it is, if the whiskey is clear (not cloudy at room temperature), and otherwise looks/smells like whiskey, it's not likely to do you any harm to drink it. If you find the enjoy the taste, all the better!

    Oh, and welcome...
    Last edited by TNbourbon; 03-30-2008 at 12:11.

  3. #3

    Re: Hello & 1st Question ... Does whiskey go bad?

    That's helpful.

    Thank you for the link and the input.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Dayton, TN

    Re: Hello & 1st Question ... Does whiskey go bad?

    Welcome to SB.com! Just an opinion, I am not sure that JD was good to drink when it was bottled 30 years ago.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Brisbane, AUSTRALIA

    Re: Hello & 1st Question ... Does whiskey go bad?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tennessee Dave View Post
    Welcome to SB.com! Just an opinion, I am not sure that JD was good to drink when it was bottled 30 years ago.
    Why not Dave?
    Frank Bobo was at the helm, and he taught Jimmy everything he knows.......

    I'm sure it would be damn good 90 proof whiskey! Opposed to the 80 proof nowadays.

    "I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day" - Frank Sinatra

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007

    Re: Hello & 1st Question ... Does whiskey go bad?

    My brother had a bottle of Old Pogue open for over a year. Normally that shouldn't be a problem, and there was maybe 1/5 of a bottle left. We tried some the other night and it had definitely turned. It was sour! Very unpleasant. Perhaps in part it was because the cork was rather loose.

    I told him to use it for salad dressing.


    I love him whose soul squanders itself, who wants no thanks...for he always gives away and does not want to preserve himself.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2007

    Re: Hello & 1st Question ... Does whiskey go bad?

    I heard the best story of the way to look at the chance of taste change by L&J... if your bourbon changes in your glass over time due to air... what is your bottle doing as you pour it over time?

    Leave a glass out overnight... over two nights and taste... that is what your bottle is doing over monts....

    My new rule of thumb is drink an open bottle over 6 months... why chance loosing why you love it...

  8. #8
    Irreverent One
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Heart of the Beaver State

    Re: Hello & 1st Question ... Does whiskey go bad?

    Hello Winn. Welcome aboard.

    Does whiskey go bad?

    Sadly, yes it does, all too often. Mind you, it starts life emerging from the still bright and clear, poured into a big mellow barrel and put into a nice warm warehouse, surrounded by kindred spirits. It's happy there. It feels safe. It expects to be there long enough to mature into a refined whiskey, one taken neat.

    But instead, usually at the insistence of some greedy corporate weenie, at the tender age of two or three it's abrubtly poured from the barrel into a cold, hard square bottle, shipped out to find itself looking at the shins of those selecting something from the top shelf.

    Is it any wonder that it goes bad? That it starts to hang out with an unsavory crowd (mixto tequilas. berry-flavored vodkas. rootbeer schnapps)? That it gets mixed up with the likes of diet Pepsi and cherry Coke? That it comes to some ignominious end, like poured over cloudy ice cubes into a dirty glass at some seedy biker bar?

    I know what you're thinking: This is terrible! What can I do to help?

    Rescue some. Buy a barrel:


    equip it with one of these:


    and fill it up. Put it in a good spot, perhaps next to your bed.

    Talk to it. Make sure it knows it's in a good home, a safe place. Above all let it know that it no longer needs to be afraid.

    (you might want to make sure there's no one else around while you're doing this)

    Give it a couple of years...enough time to heal.

    Then tap the barrel and pour some into a nice crystal decanter. Make it feel Special.

    You'll be rewarded not just by the pleasure associated with sipping a smooth, mellow, fully self-actualized whiskey, but also by the knowledge that you've saved a whiskey from going bad.

    It's a Good Thing ©
    Last edited by CorvallisCracker; 04-04-2008 at 10:24.

    "Remember that your sense of humor is inversely proportional to your level of intolerance."
    - Serge Storms

  9. #9

    Re: Hello & 1st Question ... Does whiskey go bad?

    ^ That's great ^ Thanks a bunch Scott.

    And just as an update - I decided to "roll the dice" and give it a whirl.

    Drum roll please ... It was Good. Not Great, but certainly not bad either.

    Anyway, this developing interest in whiskey is fairly new to me so I'm looking forward to learning a lot more here. It's a great resource and seems to be a very nice & helpful community of folks.

    Thanks again for all the help.

  10. #10
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Murfreesboro, TN

    Re: Hello & 1st Question ... Does whiskey go bad?

    Speaking of whiskey gone bad, I recently was given a bottle of "Home-made Whiskey" from a co-worker. Like always, I took an initial sniff......smells good! I brought it home and stuck it in the cabinet next to store bought whiskey, thinking this stuff may be a little better being home made. The weekend finally rolled around and I sat down with a glass of this home made stuff. (notice how it went from whiskey to stuff) I took another sniff, still smells good, like whiskey should smell. So here comes the first sip....What the.......what is that awful taste! I thought maybe it would be better mixed with a little coke. Nope. Maybe a glass of coke with a splash of this, nope. This was by far the worst taste I could possibly describe! I must have washed my glass about 10 times before gracing it with the presence of some real whiskey again.....ahhhh. Better. I poured the remains of the bottle in the back yard fearing it would melt the pipes in the house, put the cork back in and returned the bottle to the fella. I think I will leave the whiskey making to the pros and leave the home made stuff alone for a while.....man that was nasty!



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