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Storing whisky on its side destroys the whisky. In how long?

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Storing whisky on its side destroys the whisky. In how long?

Postby mxyzptlk » Fri May 25, 2007 2:33 am

I've seen many warnings on the web about storing whisky like this (but with contents and cork intact): :dead:

They say the spirit will eventually eat into the cork, making the whisky "corked". I understand this concept.

However, does anyone have any hands-on info on how long a bottle has to be stored in this way for the consumer to be able to tell the difference? It seems people will not hesitate to bring whisky in their luggage on long journeys, or order it through the mail. In both cases the whisky will more than likely be in contact with the cork for long(ish) periods of time, perhaps many days.

So I guess a week on its side will not destroy a whisky. But how long does it take? A month? Six? A year? Any experiences to share?
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Postby Deactivated Member » Fri May 25, 2007 3:20 am

A good question, and one I suspect no one here wants to study empirically. Someone recently posted about getting several bottles in succession that were oddly and unacceptably bitter on the finish, and I speculated that this might be exactly what happened to them. Had they been stored sidewise in a shop for some weeks or even months? I too would like to know if anyone has innocently purchased a bottle that had been racked that way, to its obvious detriment, but even then, it would be difficult to figure how long it had been horizontal.
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Postby mxyzptlk » Fri May 25, 2007 3:30 am

This is true, it would be impossible to know. However, it could be that someone here has stored whisky in this way as rookies without knowing the possible consequences. Also, there could be people here that have done so without noticing anything wrong with the whisky, in which case I would like to know how long time their whisky was stored.

Since there's a general consensus among whisky lovers that the whisky will be ruined from prolonged storage on its side, I'm guessing that someone has discovered this pehnomenon from personal experience. Or is it just logic (alcohol will deteriorate the cork, meaning the contents will be contaminated)?
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Postby Reggaeblues » Fri May 25, 2007 11:58 am

Would the same then not be true of wine, traditionally stored on its side?

somehow I don't think so. not that i'm a wine afficionado...
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Postby Reggaeblues » Fri May 25, 2007 12:02 pm

PS. I forgot the ABV of whisky is of course a lot higher than wine, and therefore, logic says the deterioration would be faster...but i know wine afficionados, whom you'd think would think would know better, who've racked vintage wine for YEARS on its side...
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Wine storage

Postby Muskrat Portage » Sat May 26, 2007 5:37 am

RB;
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I understood that wine was racked on it's side to keep the cork from drying out.

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Re: Wine storage

Postby Sherried Malt » Sat May 26, 2007 4:11 pm

Muskrat Portage wrote:RB;
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I understood that wine was racked on it's side to keep the cork from drying out.

M.P.


Yes, that's exactly right. And the 12-16+% ABV in wine doesn't do the cork any harm. "First growth" bordeaux are stored for that way for decades. However, some people get them replaced after 20 yrs or so...
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Re: Storing whisky on its side destroys the whisky. In how l

Postby Sherried Malt » Sat May 26, 2007 4:19 pm

mxyzptlk wrote:I've seen many warnings on the web about storing whisky like this (but with contents and cork intact): :dead:

They say the spirit will eventually eat into the cork, making the whisky "corked".


I'm not sure what a corked whisky tastes like, but is it different from a corked wine? Wine corks (or wineries and bottling equipment, for that mattter...) can be contaminated with a chlorine-based chemical called TCA which leaves a musty and wet cardboard aroma on the nose and a dead characteristic on the palate.

Is this what everyone is referring to? Or something else?
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Postby Di Blasi » Sat May 26, 2007 9:15 pm

My dad bought me a George T Stagg a month or so back, keeping it for me in California. Last night I called him up to make sure he hasn't stored it the way he stores his wine! Although I told him when he bought it not to, this thread got me wondering. Hopefully it is upright! Or else, I wonder how long it can go? Damn, I saw some nice whisky in a shop last month, on their side! Nice bottles that obviously don't sell to frequently, so I wonder if they're just forgotten that way? How long it takes before they're no longer good to drink???
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Postby heatmiser » Sun May 27, 2007 7:41 am

Lucky you! You are in for a real treat! GTS is one of my favorite bourbons...
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Postby Reggaeblues » Tue May 29, 2007 7:12 pm

Just back from visiting my mum, who tends to store all drinks on their side in racks, including ancient bottles of Cutty Sark etc.with screw on tops. (I keep my house/visiting malts upright!!)

Two years ago, I discovered a whisky in a customized bottle for her former "beau" who died in 1982. It was not an SM, but I remembered it had a cork. We had a little party of his old friends and drank it on what would have been his birthday - a wonderful way to celebrate the life of a wonderful man. Obviously a blend, it nonetheless tasted very good, with a gentle nuttiness as I recall.

today I found the old bottle stored for posterity...and the customised label( by Alexander Dunn) with his name on it.

I asked my mother if she might just recall how it was stored...upright or on its side. Without hesitation she said "On its side. Why?"

Like i said, it tasted very good, having been on its side for nearly 25 years...

...today i noticed the cork was broken! Good job we drank it all in one sitting!

then again, I once had an Ardbeg with a broken cork...but never one that tasted "off".

Go figure...
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue May 29, 2007 8:36 pm

It might be that this is an issue of risk, rather than one of certain damage. Or it could be one of those bits of received wisdom that is simply utterly false! Prefer not to take a chance myself.
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Postby mikeymad » Tue May 29, 2007 9:15 pm

I know at one point ganga had his whisky collection in a wine rack for years as I remember, I don't remember there being a problem. I think it might be the quality of the cork. Just like an open bottle that is vertical can go bad and evaporation can be an issue.

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Postby Di Blasi » Wed May 30, 2007 1:15 am

So it seems I shouldn't worry too much the George T Stagg my dad bought me was on it's side a few months. Now it's upright, but I'll stop worrying it may have gotten corked in that short time.
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