If you have a bottle of Jack Daniel’s whiskey, chances are you like its flavors and don’t want anything to ruin them. However, poor storage conditions will do exactly that, so here are 7 essential steps for storing your Jack Daniel’s whiskey to ensure they remain in pristine condition.
1. Away From Direct Light and Direct Sunlight
Store your Jack Daniel’s where it won’t be exposed to direct light or direct sunlight as they can ruin both its color and its flavor.
That’s because direct light and (worse) direct sunlight creates a chemical reaction in the volatile compounds of your whiskey which causes them to break down. Jack Daniel’s stored for long periods of time in direct light or direct sunlight will therefore degrade in one or two months, causing it to taste harsher, possibly even of rubber, paint thinner or rotten fruit.
Also, the ultraviolet rays of the sun bleach out the color pigments of whiskey causing your Jack Daniel’s to lose some of its golden color.
And if you’re storing your Jack Daniel’s long term in a collection, direct light and direct sunlight will cause the label to fade.
2. In A Dry, Non-Humid Environment
It’s also important to store your Jack Daniel’s in a dry, non-humid environment.
If your bottle of Jack Daniel’s is well sealed then humidity won’t harm the whiskey itself, but it can have a significant effect on the exterior of the bottle. Humidity can damage the label and make it moldy. And if your bottle is part of a collection, humidity can also damage any outer layers of boxing and packaging, making it more fragile and easier to tear.
If you’re worried about humidity damaging the label or packaging, you can keep your Jack Daniel’s in an airtight plastic bag. Make sure the bag doesn’t contain any plasticisers or other chemicals as they could bleach the packaging or label and affect the contents of the bottle via the cork.
3. In A Cool Temperature
Keep your bottle of Jack Daniel’s in an environment with a cool temperature. 15°-20°c or 59°-68°F will do.
That’s because while slightly warmer temperatures will not affect your Jack Daniel’s at all, higher levels of heat will increase the amount of whiskey that evaporates from the bottle. Evaporation will occur even if your Jack Daniel’s is stored at a cool temperature and even if the bottle is unopened as most airtight seals are usually not 100% airtight, so there’s always room for the whiskey to escape. But higher temperatures will obviously make it worse.
Also, higher temperatures will cause more oxidation. Oxidation is when oxygen binds to one chemical compound and turns it into another. When oxygen gets into a bottle of Jack Daniel’s it will change the compounds and the flavors. Precisely how the flavors of your Jack Daniel’s will change can’t be predicted. It could be for the better, but often it’s for the worse.
Higher temperatures cause more oxidation because whiskey expands in the heat. This puts your 40%ABV or higher Jack Daniel’s in constant contact with the seal of the bottle which if it’s a cork, will soon become damaged. A damaged cork means a looser seal, and a looser seal means more oxygen seeping into the bottle and oxidizing your whiskey.
While this might make it seem like the freezer would be a good place to store your Jack Daniel’s, it isn’t. Lower temperatures are a problem too because they mute any aromas and flavors. However, the problem of lower temperatures is not as bad as the problems of higher temperatures because it can be reversed. The aromas and flavors will return when your Jack Daniel’s is warmed up to room temperature.
4. In A Stable Environment
Don’t store your bottle of Jack Daniel’s in an environment with fluctuating temperatures. That’s because with every fluctuation oxygen can flow into the bottle. This will increase the amount of oxidation and change the taste of your whiskey. Make sure that your bottle of Jack Daniel’s is stored in a stable environment that has as few fluctuating temperatures as possible.
Any bottles of Jack Daniel’s that are sealed with a cork must be stored standing up. That’s because, storing it lying down would put your 40%ABV or higher Jack Daniel’s in constant contact with the cork and damage it, causing the seal to loosen, and oxygen to seep in.
On the other hand, corks that are kept completely dry for long periods of time may chip or crumble, which also means a looser seal and oxygen seeping in. In many cases the alcohol vapors evaporating through the cork will keep it moist but it’s still a good idea to turn your bottles over in case that’s not enough. You can either:
- Rest your bottle of Jack Daniel’s horizontally for an hour or so once or twice a year.
- Turn your bottle of Jack Daniel’s upside down for a few seconds once a month.
That way the alcohol won’t damage the cork and the cork won’t dry out.
6. Tightly Sealed
An opened bottle of Jack Daniel’s needs to be stored tightly sealed. That’s because opening the bottle which is necessary to let the whiskey out also lets the air in and starts the process of oxidation. Now you do have anywhere from six months to two years (depending on the ratio of Jack Daniel’s to air in the bottle) before its flavors change but simply keeping the lid on tightly will slow the process down.
Of course, the more Jack Daniel’s you drink the more air / oxygen there will be inside the bottle (the headspace) and the sooner it will oxidize. A tight seal won’t do anything about that unless you store your Jack Daniel’s in a smaller bottle to reduce the amount of headspace.
An unopened bottle of Jack Daniel’s that’s being stored long term may need an extra seal to prevent evaporation. As mentioned, most seals aren’t 100% airtight so there’s always room for the whiskey to evaporate. However, the bottle is still sealed so this is a very slow process (depending on how airtight the seal is). If you’re storing your Jack Daniel’s for only a few years the minimal amount that will evaporate will be tolerable.
But if you’re planning on storing your Jack Daniel’s for longer, then minimal amounts of evaporation can add up to significant amounts of evaporation. After ten years the amount of Jack Daniel’s to have evaporated will be noticeable and after 30 – 40 years the filling level will have decreased drastically.
In such a case, you’ll want to prevent evaporation by making your bottles of Jack Daniel’s more or 100% airtight. You can do this by attaching an additional seal. This can be an additional cap on top of the cork or by dipping your bottle in wax, but these methods can damage the bottle and the underlying seal, so are not a good idea if it’s an especially valuable bottle of Jack Daniel’s.
A better solution is to use parafilm. This is a film made from a blend of waxes and polyolefins that’s semi-transparent and flexible. It’s malleable, non-toxic, tasteless, odorless, and self-sealing. You can wrap it around the lid making it airtight and it won’t harm the underlying seal. The only downside is that after some time it becomes brittle and less effective, so it needs replacing every five to seven years.
You can buy All Purpose Laboratory Parafilm on Amazon here (affiliate link).
7. With Flair
Of course, you also need to store your Jack Daniel’s with some degree of flair. How you do this will depend on your personal taste and your situation, but it could be a stylish decanter, a display shelf, a liquor dispenser, a drinks cabinet or even a whiskey barrel.
I put a few ideas together which you can find on Amazon here (affiliate link).