Can Whiskey Go Bad

does whiskey go bad

Whiskey is an extremely popular and well-known alcoholic beverage that is on par with vodka, gin, and rum as the go-to liquor for social gatherings, parties, and happy hours. Similar to vodka in terms of its’ overall alcohol content, whiskey is a hard drink yet it goes down smooth. It can be served straight up, on the rocks (with ice), or mixed with coca cola or another beverage. There are many different types of whiskey that can be found around the world but the most prestigious brands would be Johnnie Walker, Jack Daniels, Glenfiddich, Bushmills, Macallan, etc. It’s considered to be a fact that the whiskey capital of the world would be in Scotland with Ireland being a close second. Whiskey actually comes from a Gaelic word, which means “the water of life.” Luckily, if you plan on buying an expensive whiskey and you’re wondering whether its’ worth the investment without worrying about whether it will spoil or not, you’re in luck. The ultimate question remains to be answered; does whiskey go bad?

Does Whiskey Go bad Or Expire?

The good news for this question is that whiskey does not go bad and has an extremely long shelf life, similar to gin and vodka. However, if you do not properly store this beverage carefully, it is possible that the whiskey can go bad over time and lose some of its’ longevity. It’s popularly known that whiskey can be stored for many decades and will taste the same and even improve in taste and texture if it is stored properly. Similar to wine, whiskey can get better with age. For long-term storage, whiskey can be stored in barrels or in casks, which is ideal for the product. You can also keep the whiskey in its’ original bottle but there’s a higher risk that the storage process won’t be as effective due to the cap, cork, or seal being exposed to the outside elements as apposed to a barrel or cask.

Storing The Whiskey

The most important thing to consider when it comes to storing whiskey for the long-term is that exposure to outside elements must be extremely limited or non-existent. Oxygen, sunlight, heat, bacteria are all detrimental to the taste and texture of the whiskey over time. Because of these factors, whiskey should be stored in cold and dark places for the long-term. For some examples, keeping whiskey in places like cellars, pantries, or inside liquor cabinets are all good ideas in terms of storage practices. It’s important to remember that whiskey is best stored in casks or barrels rather than its’ original packaging bottle. The less exposure to sunlight or heat, the better off the whiskey will be for the long-term. Whiskey should also be stored in cold areas or rooms. The ideal temperature is between 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit or 15 to 20 degrees Celsius. There shouldn’t be any radical changes in the temperature when it comes to storing the whiskey. Temperatures should be consistently colder than room temperature and its’ important to carefully monitor the temperature to make sure the whiskey isn’t being exposed to too much heat.

These steps of regulating the temperature and the light exposure to the whiskey are done to make sure that there are no major changes to the taste or texture of the product. Lastly, unlike wine or other liquors, whiskey should not be stored in a holder on its’ side but it should be left in the upright position. It’s best not to have the cork or seal mix too much with the liquid content because it could cause negative changes to the taste or texture to occur.

You also want to make sure on a regular basis that the cork, seal, or top hasn’t been damaged or contaminated. If that ends up happening, you should change the cork immediately and get a new one to replace it. When the whiskey hasn’t been opened before previously, you won’t have to worry as much about the cork or seal. Opening the whiskey up can expose the contents to outside elements like oxygen so it’s important to cork it back up as quickly as possible. There should be as little air as possible inside the bottle in order to prevent negative changes to the taste or texture.

Shelf Life of Whiskey

When whiskey is stored properly, there is a very low chance that it will ever go bad or go sour on you. However, if you don’t take the necessary precautions with your whiskey, then it won’t last for many years. Ideally, the whiskey you buy can last for years, decades, and even up to a half-century when you properly store it. When the whiskey has been opened before, it’s even more important to preserve the taste and texture by avoiding those outside elements that can affect its’ storage.

Signs of Bad Whiskey

In order to find out if your whiskey has gone bad or not, there are a couple of different ways to tell for sure. You must examine the appearance, smell the contents, and taste the whiskey itself in order to get the full picture about the product and its’ overall appeal. For appearance, it’s important to check to see if there’s any discoloration in the whiskey and also to look for any clumps, mold at the bottom or top of the bottle that may have formed over the years.

When you smell the whiskey, you should be checking to see if the smell has changed, and changed for the worse. If there’s any foul-smelling odor that has developed, the whiskey may have gone bad. Lastly, having a small taste test of the whiskey to check the consistency of the flavor is not a bad idea when other methods have proven to be inconclusive.  Just remember that taking a small taste test, even if the whiskey has gone bad, won’t cause you to feel sick or nauseous. If the whiskey has passed these three tests, then it’s still good to consume. If the whiskey has failed one or more of these three tests, then you should seriously consider throwing the product out for your health and safety.


Overall, whiskey is a fine adult beverage that when stored properly will last you for many years giving you the most bang for your buck compared with other types of alcohol. Remember to drink responsibly and enjoy this fine drink that’s popular all over the world.




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