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how long does a bottle whisky last once open?

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how long does a bottle whisky last once open?

Postby gilly » Tue Feb 01, 2005 1:37 pm

I would be grateful for some advice on how quick a bottle of malt needs to drunk once its been opened. I'm slowly building up a small collection of nice malts and am definately a 'taster' rather than collector. Have heard that should be drunk within the year but that CO2 help improve longevity. Comments on prolonging the drinking life of an opened bottle would be very much appreciated.
Thanks.
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Postby bamber » Tue Feb 01, 2005 2:09 pm

I decant into progrssively smaller bottles. Not sure how CO2 would help - it'd be pretty difficult to get it in the bottle :?

Also try googling for "vac-u-vin"
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Postby gilly » Tue Feb 01, 2005 2:18 pm

have heard that the CO2 prevents oxidation process (as per wine), may be possible to squirt into bottle & stay in bottle as ?heavier than air if I remember rightly.

Not sure about Vac-U-Van, would the vacuum initially created just be replaced by the whisky's alcohol coming out of liquid form... which would ultimately reduce the alcohol content over several tasting sessions.

Agree? or Disagree?
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Postby Ed » Tue Feb 01, 2005 2:41 pm

Hello All,
As to using vacuum to prevent oxidation, I wouldn't worry about the alcohol being removed as much as the even more volatile esters that give whisky much of its nose and flavor. There was a thread on this topic under the name of "Glass beads" You might want to check that out. A number of different solutions were discussed. The most popular being, "Drink up your open bottles in a timely manner." I myself decided not to worry about it to much and not leave any nearly empty bottles laying around.
Ed
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Postby robs42 » Tue Feb 01, 2005 2:50 pm

The other problem with products with vac-u-vin is that they are designed for wine. I doubt that the vacuum will hold for more than a week tops. Personally I don't think it is worth the effort. I have bottles opened over two years ago that are still going strong.
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Postby gilly » Tue Feb 01, 2005 3:10 pm

Thanks for pointing me to the thread on glass beads etc. from earlier this month.

Reading the thread, the following seem best in order: drink up relatively quick; argon gas (although expensive it is inert & is heavier than air so will dispace it when squirted in -as a point of interest commercial divers working for long periods use it in their suits because of its heat insulating properties!); nitrogen (easier to buy cheaply but is not entirely inert -see http://www.uigi.com/nitrogen.html - & is slightly lighter than air so will be more difficult to displace the oxygen component of the air); glass beads (will tend to still have a layer of oxygen-containing air in the neck of the bottle).

I guess, like the American teacher Ed, I'll have to stop buying new bottles "like a kid in a candie shop" & opening them all at once!!

Regards to fellow devotees.
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Postby hpulley » Tue Feb 01, 2005 7:34 pm

Whisky lasts longer the fuller it is so if you want it to last, don't drink it much. The oxidation accelerates with emptiness which is why many pour them into smaller bottles or use the glass bead things. I just drink them, finishing them usually in less than a year which seems reasonable.

Harry
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Postby Lawrence » Wed Feb 02, 2005 3:11 am

I've found that you have between a year and 18 months from when you open a bottle. This subject has been discussed quite a bit on this forum as matt and others have pointed out. There are many factors but to be safe I think a year is a good time to aim for. It's a real shame if you leave an expensive quality bottle open too long it spoils, it's better to have fond memories IMHO.
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Postby Admiral » Wed Feb 02, 2005 3:51 am

I generally agree with Lawrence's duration of one year, but it really is affected by the ratio of air-to-whisky in the bottle.

If you've only consumed 30ml of the whisky, then it will take much longer than 12 months for the whisky to oxidise to the point where you feel the flavour has deteriorated noticeably.

Alternatively, if you've consumed 600ml, then the bottle is about 85% air and 15% whisky. With that sort of ratio, oxidation will be far quicker and more pronounced, and there's no way the bottle will last a year.

There is a rule of thumb that I've quoted a few times on these pages, and I've found it to be pretty accurate:

Once the bottle gets down to being only a third to a half full, you have between 3 to 6 months before the oxidation begins to cause the whisky's flavour to noticeably deteriorate.

Cheers,
Admiral
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Feb 02, 2005 7:16 am

Admiral, you took the malt right out of my mouth. Unfortunately, I think many of us suffer from a tendency to drink more slowly as the bottle gets lower--we want to make the last few drams last. But it is perhaps best, when the bottle gets down to 1/4 to 1/3 full (or is it 2/3 to 3/4 empty?), to invite your best malt-drinking buddies over to euthanize the thing. If you want to save a dram or two for later, funnel them into a well-washed miniature or two, one which originally held the same or similar stuff, if possible. Do it before the buds arrive and squirrel them away somewhere that you'll forget about for a while. Don't forget to stick a label on them, unless you like stumping yourself.

I've discussed previously my policy of ordering from the fullest bottle at a pub that obviously doesn't sell much whisky. Actually, I fell in love with Talisker that way, at Da Lounge Bar in Lerwick, Shetland--I think I pretty much drank the whole bottle myself over five days or so. I wonder what the lovely Linda is doing now?
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Postby akallio » Wed Feb 02, 2005 11:40 am

gilly wrote:Reading the thread, the following seem best in order: drink up relatively quick;


This is always the easy and guaranteed solution. Unhappily drinking it up isn't always possible: you can have rare whiskies that you would like consume over along period of time (the rest of your life? :) ) and you might want to keep many open bottles, but have too few whisky loving friends or not enough money to cater them all.

gilly wrote:argon gas (although expensive it is inert & is heavier than air so will dispace it when squirted in -as a point of interest commercial divers working for long periods use it in their suits because of its heat insulating properties!); nitrogen (easier to buy cheaply but is not entirely inert -see http://www.uigi.com/nitrogen.html - & is slightly lighter than air so will be more difficult to displace the oxygen component of the air);


The gas used in nitrogen based preservers (at least in Private Preserve) is a combination of nitrogen, carbon dioxide and argon, if I recall correctly. It's heavier than air, which is the whole point. Gas lays a blanket over whisky, so the cork is there only to keep bursts of air from mixing the blanket.
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Postby Ed » Wed Feb 02, 2005 3:01 pm

Hello All,
For some reason this topic interests me. I am not quite sure why. I don't have anything rare and precious that I want to linger over for years. I think I can get through what I have open with reasonable dispatch, but I can't help thinking about it...
Suppose that you have splurged and put down an absurd amount of money on GlensomethingorotherDamnit'sgood! bottled in the year you were born. You would like to have a dram every leap year on your birthday and finish it off on your deathbed with whoever shows up. Maybe you should think about decanting it into good glass miniatures the day you open it. If I ever get a bottle of George T. Stagg bourbon I will probably do that only I will use half pint flasks. For the merely wonderful I will drink a little often for the first quarter, pause then return, drinking deeper of an evening and pause around the half way point. When I return to it drink steadily over time till it is gone. If I really like it, and can afford it, buy another around the last quarter so I won't be tempted to linger over the last finger or two till it is spoilt. I will now go an date all my open bottles as accurately as I can...
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Postby hpulley » Wed Feb 02, 2005 11:35 pm

Even if the new flavor isn't bad it is still different. Some may even improve but I think we're trying to give guidelines for a fairly constant taste.

Harry
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Postby Admiral » Thu Feb 03, 2005 3:54 am

In contrast to C_I's experience, I can personally vouch for a bottle of Ardbeg 10 that had truly turned for the worse in less than 10 months.

Mind you, about 80% was consumed very quickly. The last 20% sat in the bottle for 8 or 9 months, and was bordering on unpleasant when we went to finish it.

Cheers,
Admiral
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Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Feb 03, 2005 5:05 am

Have you ever inadvertently left a dram, or a portion thereof, out overnight, and then tried to drink it? I know from experience that an Ardbeg 10 thus treated is utterly undrinkable. (It does make an interesting air freshener, though.) I would imagine that the process in a bottle is the same, only much slower.
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Postby Ed » Thu Feb 03, 2005 5:23 am

Hello All,
Hello Mr TattieHeid,
I sometimes leave a glass with a little splash of whiskey in it out for several hours and then nose it once in a while to get a clearer sense of what the bottom notes are.
Ed
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Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Feb 03, 2005 5:34 am

Hey Ed (he said, going entirely off topic), you aren't in Kyoto, are you? Do you know Horie's Bar?
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Postby Ed » Thu Feb 03, 2005 5:39 am

Nope I am up in Sapporo.
Ed
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Postby Ed » Fri Feb 11, 2005 11:40 am

Hello All,
Hello Mr TattieHeid,
As I said, I am up in Sapporo, but I will be visiting Kyoto next month. So, tell me about this place, Horie's Bar. Where is it? Have you been there?
Thanks, Ed
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Postby rthomson » Fri Feb 11, 2005 6:18 pm

When I first got turned on to single malts I bought several bottles over a short period of time and made the common mistake of opening all of them. As I didn't have any single malt drinking buddies at the time they sat there and sat there until they became quite oxidized and held little resemblance to what I had originally tasted.

As the nitrogen mix is heavier than air (and nitrogen should not mix with the whisky as a straight CO2 shot might do over time) I think it's a valid option. However, it sounds like decanting into smaller, clean bottles or flasks would be the best option.

Then again, another option, which I had for a while, is to have a friend or roommate who steals your single malt and replaces it with Bushmills. Sure got me to focus on the level of all my open bottles.

Ed, am I correct in thinking that Sapporo is in Hokkaido? I've heard that there are several decent Japanese whiskies there. Have you tried them and, if so, do you recommend any?

Ron
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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Feb 14, 2005 7:01 am

Ed, I've been away for the weekend, hope this is not too late.

I was sitting alone in the Fife Arms in Dufftown with a nice dram and a mediocre pint. (Why is there so little real ale Speyside?) A Japanese fellow entered and sat nearby. We engaged in rudimentary conversation, his English being a bit shaky and my Japanese being nonexistent. He gave me his card, which reads "The Scotsman/Horie's Bar/For Duke Drunkard/Scotch Whisky Research Centre Kyoto Branch/Toshiyuki Horie". I think the "Research Centre" bit is tongue-in-cheek--there's a reference further down to a "Whisky Technical Research Room". I gathered that he was on a buying mission. After a while, he raised his glass to me and said Slainte. I raised my glass in return and gave the only salute in Japanese that I know--Ohio. That got a chuckle out of him, as "Good morning" was plainly inappropriate. (I doubt it's spelled that way, but that's how we Yanks remember it.)

The website listed on the card is http://hories.pos.to and email is hories@pos.to . There's an address and phone number, too, which I'll be glad to pass along, if you can't get them from the website. If you go to the staff page on the site, the gentleman in the second photo down is the one I met, I think--I couldn't swear to it.

If you go, let me know how it was (not that I'll ever go there). For that matter, let me know what the website has to say--I can't read any of it, and it stumped the online translation engines, as well. Say hi to Duke Drunkard for me.

Ohio.
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Postby Ed » Mon Feb 14, 2005 12:17 pm

Thanks Mr TattieHeid,
The address and phone number are on the website. I don't know for sure if I will be able to go there or not. I don't know where I am staying, I know the name of the hotel but not the address. If it turns out that it is near by either where I am staying or where I am going I will drop in for a dram or two. I just now looked at the address again and it may very well be doable. As to what it says... something along the lines of "Here's the address. It's pretty hard to find. Ask a taxi driver and you can always call us. I think it also says that more foreigner have been coming. Did you notice that two of the westerners in the pictures were Michael Jackson and David Broom? If it is good enough for them I suppose it might be acceptable. :)

As for the Scotch Whisky Research Centre Kyoto Branch being tongue in cheek, I think it is more probable that they are being pretentious. Or not. For all I know they are truly knowledgeable, the Japanese equivalent of MJ and DB and Our Noble Selves. :)
Ed
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Postby Admiral » Tue Feb 15, 2005 3:32 am

Some sad news...

I made the mistake of leaving a bottle of Glenmorangie Port Finish in its packaging tube/tin. I subsequently forgot that it still had whisky in it, even though there was only about a quarter to a third of the whisky left. I discovered it on the weekend, and I estimate that it was left sitting for over 18 months.

Result? It was tasteless, bordering on unpleasant, and for the first time I ever, I actually had to pour the contents down the sink. :(

Cheers,
Admiral
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Postby islayjunkie » Tue Feb 15, 2005 5:43 am

Due to a recent investment I've started using http://www.privatepreserve.com
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Feb 15, 2005 5:57 am

Admiral, when I was at Talisker, I bought a little presentation box with a 20cl bottle of 10yo and two Glencairn glasses (which is what I really wanted). I opened the bottle that evening and had a dram or two, then put it back in the box. By the next day, the whisky had absorbed a very unpleasant toxic chemical-like odor and flavor, presumably from the satin-like material lining the box. Has anyone else had a similar experience? For this reason, my bottle of Ardbeg Lord Of The Isles is spending its working life outside its little sarcophagus. It might be a different material, or maybe there was some other problem peculiar to the Talisker, but why take a chance?
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Postby Lawrence » Tue Feb 15, 2005 6:16 am

This is not an unheard of situation, it is usually traced back to a poor contact between the stopper and the bottle. The more common examples of such changes in whisky are usually due to the packaging becoming damp and the resulting odours contaminating the bottle.

Admiral, not the first time you've poured whisky down the drain, hmmm?

I seem to remember you mentioning that you treated a bottle of Canadian Club in a similar fashion?

Or was it another emince de grise?

I guess that beats an
emince de veau

:D
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Postby akallio » Tue Feb 15, 2005 9:45 am

islayjunkie wrote:Due to a recent investment I've started using http://www.privatepreserve.com


As have I also. Though the investement behind my interest in preserving whisky is still on its way.

Private Preserve is quite easy to use, though it has the habit of splashing whisky when filling the bottle with gas. At least when the gas bottle is new. I guess it's not a problem, as everything stays inside the bottle anyway.
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Postby islayjunkie » Tue Feb 15, 2005 11:36 am

akallio wrote:Private Preserve is quite easy to use, though it has the habit of splashing whisky when filling the bottle with gas.


Cover the straw with the cork to reduce splashing and press slowly. 1 long (1 second) spray followed by 4 short bursts ;)
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Postby hpulley » Tue Feb 15, 2005 2:21 pm

Interesting... Glen Breton comes inside a fake-satin box where I always kept it. Hmm...

Harry
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Postby skywalker » Tue Feb 15, 2005 9:27 pm

My personal experience is that any deterioration of openend bottles is hard to taste. I cross checked once a fresh openend Knockando versus a one that has been open for 10 years. The difference was really slight.
But anyway I just fill the content in smaller bottles to keep the gas volume as low as possible.

Torsten
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Postby akallio » Tue Feb 15, 2005 9:34 pm

I gather that whisky deterioration really depends.

The question is, does it depend on the whisky or on the drinker?
:wink:
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Postby Admiral » Wed Feb 16, 2005 3:25 am

C-I,

Believe me, the whisky seriously had no taste. What it did taste of was unpleasant.

Why destroy a quality cask-strength by introducing weak, inferior spirit into it?

I did contemplate it for use with a bbq, or mixer, etc, but since it was flavourless, I didn't see the point. May as well use vodka for those sort of situations :wink:

Cheers,
Admiral
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Feb 16, 2005 7:27 am

C_I, if I recall right, the 20cl bottle of Talisker had a screw top. And the satiny material lining the box had a very strong odor to it. Or, I suppose, it could have been glue holding the box together, but I don't think so. In any case, I would be pleased to hear from anyone who had kept a bottle in such a box without deleterious effect--I could then write the episode off as a fluke. As it is, I am wary of fabric linings in presentation boxes.

While the use of inert gases may make sense for long-term storage, I wouldn't even consider using them until the bottle had been open for some short while. Many bottles I've had have improved with a little breathing. And I can't help but wonder whether long-term anaerobic storage might have an undesirable effect in itself. Probably not...but best in my mind to drink the bottle in a reasonably timely fashion.
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Postby Sirocco » Thu Jul 13, 2006 5:03 am

edit- Yikes I just realized I brought this one back from the grave. :roll:
Still seems like a good subject for discussion tho'.

This "bottle in a box" concerns me a little.
I found a wonderful Glen Garioch 21yr a couple years back at a whiskey shop in Heathrow. Of course I immediately opened it as soon as I got it home. :wink: After a long period of enjoying small drams so as not to drain the bottle it is now about 1/2 full.

So it is now over 2yrs old, 1/2 full and spent most of it's life stored in a vinyl covered, felt and plastic lined box. Should I be worried? :?

I wet the cork by turning the bottle every month or so (as I do on all my whiskeys) and store them in a dark closet when not used.

I have noticed no deteriotation in the flavour or aroma.
Of course being fairly uneducated in what to look for I might not notice small differences that others would.

If I can find another bottle of this wonderful scotch I will gladly finish this one with friends but until then I might consider transfering the contents into a smaller decanter like mentioned earlier. Is there a place to purchase containers specifically for this purpose?

Thanks,
Randy B
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