Proper Storing of Single Malt Scotch

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Known worldwide for its subtle, complex and diverse flavors, single malt Scotch is the favorite drink of the serious whisky connoisseur. Other than on a very special occasion, however, most Scotch lovers aren't going to get through a bottle in a single sitting. Correctly storing a bottle of single malt will preserve it for future enjoyment.

Light

  • Whisky bottles should be stored in a dark place, out of direct sunlight or other sources of ultraviolet light. Sunlight can bleach the bottle's label, which can harm the value of bottles intended for resale. It can also change the color of the whisky itself. Whisky distiller Macallan suggests that whiskies that are artificially colored with caramel, rather than colored solely by the cask, tend to lighten particularly quickly in sunlight.

Temperature

  • Whisky should be stored at room temperature. Unlike wine, whisky does not age in the bottle, meaning that it can survive a relatively wide range of temperatures. A relatively cool environment is recommended to minimize evaporation. At very cold temperatures, some cloudiness may appear, but the whisky will normally become clear when it warms up to room temperature once more.

Position

  • Whisky bottles can safely be stored with the cork upward. When storing wine, the traditional method is to store bottles in a horizontal position. This keeps the cork wet, preventing it from drying out. With whisky, prolonged contact with the higher alcohol content in the whisky may actually be bad for the cork. To extend the life of the cork, distiller Glenlivet recommends upending a stored bottle every few weeks to moisten the cork slightly.

Other Factors

  • In most cases, simply keeping bottles upright in a cool, dark place will preserve them. However, there may occasionally be problems with the cork that result in evaporation. Periodically checking the amount of whisky in a bottle will reveal if the level is decreasing; if it is, there may be a problem with the seal, meaning that the bottle should be drunk or decanted. Similarly, Glenlivet recommends decanting a bottle into a smaller container once it is about half empty to reduce oxidation.

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