How can I tell if my bottle of Whiskey has gone bad?

Updated: Sep 29

You probably need to have a look in your parents’ drinks cabinet. No doubt there will be a bottle or two of whiskey that was opened in the 90s and then pushed to the back of the cupboard by Malibu or Cinzano, and then forgotten about. Do them a favour, bin and replace (the whiskey… the Malibu and Cinzano does not need to be resurrected.)


How can you tell if your whiskey or bourbon has gone bad:

  • The colour has changed.

  • It smells bad, or just not good.

  • It tastes bad or fizzy.

  • There are bits floating or settled in the bottle (this is not Goldschlager… if you find Goldschlager in the cupboard, do them another favour and bin it!!).

  • There is dust on the bottle that looks like it has been there for 3 years!

If you are looking for a different replacement rather than a straight up swap, I would recommend a Woodford Reserve or Eagle Rare for an everyday, everyone replacement. Something a little more special would be the Japanese Nikka from the Barrel or Hibiki Harmony. Go for a ‘wild’ bottle that your friends will not have had… go for a Mexican Sierra Norte Yellow Corn or South African Bain's Cape Mountain Whisky.


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