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Opened bottle lasts for how long?

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Opened bottle lasts for how long?

Postby burak.82 » Sun Jan 09, 2011 8:52 pm

Hi,

I am always wondering, when i open a bottle of whisky, how long can it last? Is there a expiration of the taste or quality?

And sealed bottle can last forever?

tia

burak
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Re: Opened bottle lasts for how long?

Postby flatbedjon » Sun Jan 16, 2011 2:30 am

Not only will the whiskey keep just fine but, I've found that it actually gets better AFTER it's been opened. About 15 years ago when I opened a 1953 Schenley and tried it, I was a little disappointed at first. A month later I tried a little more and what a difference! Ever since I've always given my vintage whiskeys a little time to breath like you might do for a wine. Something happens when they are released that only improves the flavors. Try it and see for yourself........John
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Re: Opened bottle lasts for how long?

Postby Knolly » Tue Jan 18, 2011 9:21 am

flatbedjon wrote:Not only will the whiskey keep just fine but, I've found that it actually gets better AFTER it's been opened. About 15 years ago when I opened a 1953 Schenley and tried it, I was a little disappointed at first. A month later I tried a little more and what a difference! Ever since I've always given my vintage whiskeys a little time to breath like you might do for a wine. Something happens when they are released that only improves the flavors. Try it and see for yourself........John


I would somewhat disagree with this statement. I do agree that often a bottle tastes better once it's been opened. However, once it's been opened for a while - and depending upon how much liquid is left in the bottle, spirits can and do oxidize and can "go off" fairly rapidly depending upon how much exposure to air they've had.

I have learned this lesson the hard way more than a few times. Saving those last few ounces of a kick ass malt have occasionally resulted in a dull, bland spirit left in the bottle. I also think it's good to remember this when you happen to find that 1970s Ardbeg in a bar for $60 / ounce: how much is left in the bottle, when was it opened, etc... are worth asking before you plop down your hard earned cash.

My general rule of thumb (and of course there are exceptions!) is that a bottle is pretty safe until it's about half full. Below that, the clock is ticking - you just don't know how fast it's going!

If it's an exceptional malt, then I would state that when it gets below 50%, I will definitely get it dealt with, within 3-4 months - 6 months max. Once it's down to a few ounces, the whisky may only have a month - or perhaps even only weeks before it can possibly be negatively affected by oxidation. If it's a great bottle, but one that's reasonably available, then I'm much less concerned about this and really don't care... But, I have had several bottles - which were down to a few ounces - that definitely had the life sucked out of them after sitting on the shelves for a few years. Are they bad? No, not necessarily. however, upon tasting them next to a recently opened bottle, there can be a noticeable degradation in the quality of the spirit.

Again, some whiskies seem to do OK with oxidization, but you do risk ending up with a limp, lifeless spirit that's a shadow of its former self.

Some things that can help this:

Minimize the number of times the bottle is opened (and hence experiences air changes).

Rebottle the remaining spirit in a smaller bottle to reduce the air / spirit ratio.

Some people use wine saver gases or for less expensive (or frequently drank!) whisky, use an inverted pouring stand.

Just drink the damn stuff while it's still good!

Hope that helps a bit - cheers!
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Re: Opened bottle lasts for how long?

Postby psr-740 » Fri Jan 21, 2011 3:02 pm

What bothers me is that some bottles have poor design and the cork does not seal well. A good example is the Highland park 30 yo. If you turn the bottle upside down, it will leak.
With a good seal, you can keep an open bottle for very long time without degradation if you use Aragon gas. Can be purchased in many good wine stores.
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Re: Opened bottle lasts for how long?

Postby MARS » Sun Jan 23, 2011 11:11 am

If the cork seal well, you can keep your bottles unopened for at least 20/30 years. After that, some bottle get a cardboardy, soapy taste. If it is a metalic screw cap, it may happens that it get a metalic taste. And I don't know if it's my imagination but 2 or 3 times I found the taste of plain glass in whisky bottle more than 40 years before.

When the bottle is opened, it depend of the whisky.
First fill sherry cask almost always improve(a lot)after the bottle opening. And I am not afraid at all to let only a few Cl in the bottle for months(for years, it's another story). It's even better, i found.
For refill and bourbon cask, it depend from one whisky to another. I got a longmorn 12 years from refill sherry cask who get bad after only 6 months and 4 Cl missing in the bottle. On the other hand, I got an invergordon 37 years old from bourbon cask who improve incredibly after staying more than one year aside with less than 5Cl in the bottle(and the ABV was already low with 44,5°)
Peated malt tend to loose the peated side when opened, for me it's an improvement as I don't like peat but for almost anyone it's not a good thing. :lol:

I have a friend who found +-30 opened bottles he forget about 15 years in a dark place of the cellar. All were still good to drink, but it's difficult to compare to the original stuff and he can't remember exactly the taste 15 years before.
Some were a little bit weak but it was already OB's at 40° (so, maybe it's normal)

I always let my bottles breathe a few month. I have sometimes a bad surprise but it is almost always a good one. And I think it is well worth the loss of a few bottle. (but I have hundreds of them)

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Re: Opened bottle lasts for how long?

Postby Laphroaig » Fri Feb 04, 2011 6:34 pm

Late... but interesting comments above. IME it really depends on the spirit in the bottle. And by that I don't mean certain "types" or regions or styles will hold while others won't. You never really know. In general I've found a good cork seal and a bottle will hold quite a long time. But I think it's not quite accurate to assume "hold" means the contents will NOT change at all over time.

This isn't across the board either but I tend to find older whisky often is more fragile (so to speak). For example, the addition of water (particularly to CS unfiltered) can cause them to fall apart easier than I experience with younger CS examples. Again, that's just my OWN limited experience.
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Re: Opened bottle lasts for how long?

Postby The Third Dram » Fri Feb 04, 2011 7:32 pm

burak.82 wrote:I am always wondering, when i open a bottle of whisky, how long can it last?

Generally, likely as long as you can wait.

Knolly wrote:Rebottle the remaining spirit in a smaller bottle to reduce the air / spirit ratio.

Or, if you wish, rebottle 'off the top' upon first opening.

Knolly wrote:Just drink the damn stuff while it's still good!

The best solution, of course.

Laphroaig wrote:This isn't across the board either but I tend to find older whisky often is more fragile (so to speak). For example, the addition of water (particularly to CS unfiltered) can cause them to fall apart easier than I experience with younger CS examples.

As regards cask strength non chill-filtered whiskies, I firmly believe the distillate itself (and not the degree of its maturity) represents THE key factor concerning potential detrimental effects from the addition of water. Some cask strength whiskies take to water being added MUCH better than others. Some will tolerate being brought down relatively close to a standard bottling strength in the glass while others might begin to fall apart with as little as 10% to 15% reduction in strength (by adding water in the glass). Experiemtation and personal tasting are therefore absolutely essential.
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Re: Opened bottle lasts for how long?

Postby Ganga » Sat Feb 05, 2011 2:07 am

I'd like to chime in with some of my experience. I've not had too much of a problem with the whiskies turning even leaving the bottles near empty for years. I would suggest that the climate will impact how fast bottles turn. In my area, it is a dry climate/low humidity.
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Re: Opened bottle lasts for how long?

Postby doc » Sat Feb 05, 2011 10:03 am

I find in my house whisky seems to be a little like golf balls that is they don't get a chance to get old . I just took a look at my whisky table there are 31 different single malts on it and the oldest is a Caidenhead Cragganmore 13 that, from memory, would be no more than two years since opening .newest is a Dalmore that has a life expectancy of a sniper in Cairo ie no longer than the end of April
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Re: Opened bottle lasts for how long?

Postby Ellontaste » Sat Apr 23, 2011 1:23 am

I have some bottles opened but not the time to drink But after reading the good advices I am thinking in ask for holidays to save the rest of the liquid gold!!!
Many thanks for all the tips
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