How to store Whisky
Proper storing is essential for preserving the whisky's quality. The method and conditions of storing will surely affect the taste, aroma and character of each and every bottle of whisky we store in our shelf.
A genuine cellar is of course the ideal place for storing and safekeeping whisky for two main reasons:
1) Room temperature remains generally constant at 15 - 18 °C.
2) The room is relatively dark and only the minimum amount of sunlight and heat needed enters the cellar.
Sadly though, few of us have a cellar in our house and the usual alternative is just a shelf. We should take care, though, to choose a shelf that is not directly opposite a window, is not exposed to the sun and must at all times be covered with a dense, opaque material (like wood) that will constantly protect it from the sun rays. Storing a sealed bottle of whisky is quite simple, but storing an open one demands more care and diligence. Let's be more specific.
The bottle should always be positioned vertically
Unlike wine, whisky "prefers" standing than lying down. It suits it better too. Always store whisky bottles in a vertical position.The reason for that is whisky's high concentration of alcohol (40% Vol+), which means that if the cork comes into contact with the whisky it will decay and gradually disintegrate, allowing oxygen to enter the bottle and oxidise its content, thus affectingits taste. Besides, the cork will lace an unpleasant flavour to the whisky along with small pieces of wood.
Keep the cork moist
By keeping the bottle in a vertical position we have already done a lot towards keeping the cork in a good state. There is just one more thing. Even when the bottle is sealed a slight evaporation still takes place, which is actually good and useful to the cork, keeping it as wet as it should be. However, in order, to minimize the unpleasant phenomenon of having the cork chipped and broken when we crack and open a bottle of whisky for the first time (it can also occur if we have opened it before but didn't open again for some time) take care to turn the bottle upside down once in a while (once a month for example) to moist the cork and keep it wet. Of course all rules have exceptions, including this one: some corks are of such bad quality that no matter what we do, it will disintegrate anyway. Therefore, make sure to keep the corks of used bottles.
Always keep whisky away from direct sunlight and in the coolest spot of your house. Daily exposure to sunlight will gradually get the bottle's label off. But that's nothing to what follows. Sunlight breaks down alcohol and causes some chemical reactions to alcohol's volatile bonds, severely affecting its ethereal salts. In short, sunlight speeds up the alterations of the whisky's flavour. Long-term exposure to sun can also affect its colour and greatly expedite its evaporation. This is the main reason most whiskies are sold inside boxes and it is wise to keep them there, especially your sealed bottles. Many bottles have a distinct dark green colour because it deflects, in a certain extent, the sunlight (unlike clear bottles). Of course, choosing the colour of the bottle from the respective distillery is quite oftenlinked to the colour of the whisky itself, but this is an issue we will examine in a futurearticle.
Ideal conditions range between 15 to 20 degrees Celsius. One should be careful however to avoid temperature fluctuation when storing whisky (no more than 3 - 4 ºC within the abovementioned range) . This is because with every fluctuation, air-oxygen can flow in the bottle, causing damage to its valuable content. To ensure the best possible temperature avoid having the whisky closet near sourcesof heat.
So, by following these rules you will preserve your whisky's excellent flavour and make sure you enjoy every single drop of them. Sláinte Mhath!
Co Founder of www.singlemaltlodge.com