6 Tips to Protect Your Whiskey Collection

In October 2019, a single bottle of Macallan Fine and Rare 60-Year-Old 1926 sold for a record-breaking $1.9 million, becoming the most expensive bottle of wine or spirit ever auctioned. One year before that, a bottle from the same batch of Macallan sold for $1.2 million at auction. As headlines announce new benchmarks for whiskey, investors and industry leaders are taking note. Whether you’re collecting as a hobby or an investment, you’ll want to protect your whiskey by keeping it safe and in good condition while it’s in storage or being transported. Here are a few tips to get you started.

  1. Store bottles of whiskey upright and monitor the condition of the cork. Constant contact with high strength alcohol can degrade the cork, causing it to disintegrate and/or transfer unpleasant flavors into the liquid. Flip the bottles a couple times a year to help ensure the cork does not dry out or oxidate.
  1. Keep it dark. Store bottles away from strong sunlight, which can affect the delicate flavors and desired color of the spirit and cause evaporation. Consider using motion activated lighting to keep light exposure at a minimum.
  1. Keep the collection consistently cool, but not too cold. If a collection becomes too cold, it can cause the liquid to become cloudy. Experts recommend storing whiskey at a temperature of 59-68°F. If you’re collecting both whiskey and wine, you may not want to store them together, since ideal temperatures for whiskey are at the higher end of the spectrum for ideal wine storage.
  1. Maintain consistent temperature and humidity. Fluctuating temperatures and humidity can cause liquid to expand and contract, destabilizing the whiskey. Excess humidity can cause damage to the labels and degrade the cork. Consider adding climate control notifications to your alarm system, which will alert you if the temperature or humidity in your cellar shift.
  1. Protect the bottle and label condition. The condition of the label can impact the bottle’s value. To avoid ripping or scuffing the labels, consider storing whiskey bottles in their original cartons or cases.
  1. Prepare them to be transported. If your whiskey collection is going to travel, make sure the bottles are packed with proper materials including stable, insulating layers that can protect them from getting broken. Optimal travel conditions include a consistent, cool temperature and no harsh light.


Stephanie McNeil and Maggie Reynolds are the Senior Fine Art and Collections Specialists at Chubb.




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