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Does Whisky Go Bad? Here’s How Long You Can Keep the Bottle Open

whisky in a glass

You may have different whiskies for various occasions—something expensive for special events, some for cocktails, and others for casual sipping. It’s nice to have a variety because that is the spice of life. And if you’re a whisky connoisseur in the making, then one thing you must know is how to store whisky that has been opened.

You may not be able to finish all of these opened whiskies, and you shouldn’t rush to do that either. Drinking safely and responsibly is key, without any pressure. You might wonder, if I have so many bottles open and they remain uncapped for a while, won’t the whisky go bad? And if it does, will the taste remain the same? Most importantly, is it even safe to consume anymore? Don’t worry though, The Bar has you covered. We'll go over all the basics of storing whisky as it should be.

pouring whisky out of a bottle

How Long Can I Keep My Whisky Bottle Open?

Experts believe that your whisky will maintain its taste and aroma for up to two years as long as the bottle is half full and you seal the cap tightly. Even with the bottle tightly sealed, there will be a loss in flavour and aroma, something that’s completely out of your hands. If you leave the bottle unscrewed or uncorked and expose it to the environment, then it’s obviously going to be unsafe to even consume.

whisky decanter

How to Store an Opened Bottle of Whisky

There are also important storage conditions that you need to consider:


Whisky should be stored in a cool, stable environment, away from any direct source of sunlight. The ideal temperature prescribed by experts is somewhere between 15-20 C. Anything hotter than this can affect the integrity of the whisky’s taste and lead to flavour degradation.


You may have noticed that whisky bottles are usually green or a darker shade to filter out any light exposure. Sunlight can lead to chemical reactions in the whisky that can alter the flavour and aroma. 


Store your whisky bottles in an upright position. You may have noticed wine being stored horizontally to keep the cork moist and prevent it from drying out. The same is not the case with whisky; it does not benefit from prolonged contact with the cork. Additionally, storing an opened bottle of whisky upright will prevent leakage.

Air Exposure

Once opened, whisky bottles should be stored with the cap tightly sealed to limit contact with air as much as possible.


Whisky is relatively resilient to humidity as opposed to wine. However, excessive exposure to humidity will lead to deterioration. It’s best to store your opened whisky bottle in a dry place to prevent moisture from seeping in.

Opened whisky bottle

Is My Whisky Safe to Drink?

Yes, it is if you follow the above mentioned conditions. Then you absolutely don’t have to worry about getting poisoned. Unlike wine, which may spoil due to exposure to oxygen and the overgrowth of certain bacteria and yeast, what prevents whisky from going down this path is its high alcohol content, typically ranging from 40% to 50%. This means that there’s basically no scope for bacteria or other microorganisms causing spoilage. Your bottle of whisky might just outlive you, but for that you’ll have to abstain from relishing it on a regular basis.

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