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Bourbon and Scotch Storage

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I was helping a friend move and she found a huge box of bourbon (Jim Beam, Marker's Mark, Knob Creek) and scotch (Black label Johnny Walker, Chivas, Royal Salute).

They were in the original boxes and then stored inside another box. The box was stored in her garage which of course went through lots of temp. changes, hot summer and cold winters for about five years in the LA area.

I checked a couple bottles and they all looked fine but we didn't drink any. So can the scotch and bourbon go bad in those type of conditions? Will they be safe to drink?

I got my eyes on the Royal Salute!!

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  1. They should be safe to drink. If they got too hot, perhaps they won't taste good. But there's only one way to see: smell, and taste (ok, that's two).

    1. I don't know about extreme temperature changes, but scotch is not like wine -- it doesn't continue to change in the bottle. A bottle of scotch that was bottled twenty years ago should taste about the same now as it did when it was bottled.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Amuse Bouches

        Exactly! An unopened bottle of 12-Year Old Scotch Whisky that was purchased in 1956 is a 50 year bottle of12-Year Old Scotch.

      2. I agree that these should be fine. Distilled spirits are very resilient. While extreme heat can harm flavor, basic temperature fluctuations like you are describing are unlikely to impact taste.

        If you lived in Phoenix or Palm Springs, the answer might be different, but I have kept many Scotch and Bourbon bottles in my un-airconditioned LA house and have never had a problem.

        1. Should be fine, but watch out for the corks, if there are any. Corks dry out and break off, at times, when being removed. If a cork is dry and does not seal as well, the spirit should still be fine, provided no contaminant got into and past the cork. Nothing is going to rot a spirit, as nothing can live in it. Any bacteria would be killed off quickly.

          1. Whiskey -- both bourbon and Scotch -- sealed and stored upright should be fine. They are high proof and very stable once bottled. However, unlike wine, they should never be stored on their sides, especially corked ones. Alcohol at high proof is a solvent, as in "able to dissolve" cork. And 'corked' whiskey, like corked wine, isn't gonna be like what you thought you had.