One advantage us whisky drinkers have over our wine-loving counterparts is we DON’T have to rush to guzzle down our bottles anytime soon after they are opened.
On the other hand …
Uncork some fine vino and the clock starts ticking immediately.
It’s always best to kill the wine that first evening.
From every day after that it sits, the wine gets significantly worse until you’re forced to use it for cooking or simply pour it down the drain.
Whisky, on the other hand, is much more forgiving.
You can put a nice dent in your new bottle, cork it back up, and then come back to it days, months, and sometimes even years later.
But like everything on this godforsaken planet, age will eventually have its way with it.
Although it won’t go completely bad, the sharp notes and smells you originally detected will be dulled by the hands of time and it won’t have the same oomph as it did in its unopened prime.
In a word- – OXIDATION.
As air mingles with the whisky, it does a number on the flavors.
How long AND strong the deterioration process will take depends on a variety of factors.
- Storage temperature
- Volume of air in the bottle
- Amount of light exposure
- How much the liquid moves around
So, if you want to keep your open whisky bottle as fresh as long as possible, here are a few handy tips:
- Store it in a cool, dark environment (most important factor)
- Stand the bottle upright
- Finish off almost-empty bottles ASAP, as they will contain more air in the bottle, speeding up the oxidation process
So HOW LONG does it REALLY take for whisky to go bad after it’s opened?
Due to all of these factors,there’s no definitive one-size-fits-all answer.
If you do everything wrong (a 95% empty bottle, stored at a high temperature, etc.) you might start to notice negative effects within a few weeks.
On the other hand, nearly-full bottles stored properly, will likely take several months, maybe even a year, before you notice a decrease in quality.
Although the whisky will never technically go bad like wine does, the flavor and thrill of drinking it will vanish like a dove stuffed into Harry Houdini’s hat.