Even if whiskey isn’t your forte, you’re probably familiar with Jack Daniels. It is by far the best-selling American whiskey brand in the world.
Jack Daniels Tennessee whiskey was a favorite of the legendary Frank Sinatra. It has a rich color that comes from the charred oak barrels it has matured in. Additionally, it has a smooth and woody scent with hints of fruity undertones. It tastes sweet, like a mingling of caramel and vanilla with its signature oak and fruit notes. You’ll be hit with a warm aftertaste of dark chocolate, oranges, and slight pepper.
Jack Daniels can be served almost any way you want it to be served. You can drink it neat, with coke, apple juice, maple syrup, you name it. If you like, you could try the different variations to figure out your favorite.
A common point of confusion regarding Jack Daniels is if it goes bad. I personally own a couple of bottles and have been too worried to open them. What if they have gone bad? Do they even go bad? I had a dilemma regarding my old dusty whiskey bottles in the back of my cabinet, so I went on a hunt for answers.
Let’s dive into whether Jack Daniels goes bad or not. We’ll also address your pressing questions regarding how long it lasts, how to tell if it has gone bad, and how it should be stored. Then, maybe seasonal Jack Daniels drinkers will have one less problem to worry about.
Does Jack Daniels Go Bad?
If you’re not a whiskey connoisseur, you may well have a lone bottle of whiskey left from the ’90s. The thought after its discovery often revolves around whether Jack Daniels goes bad or if it ages well like wine.
Some people say this high-proof liquor lasts forever, while others say it should be thrown away after a while, so it’s hard to decipher what you should do with that old bottle of whiskey. However, unlike wine, whiskey doesn’t become better with age. It stops aging well after being bottled up nice and tight.
Jack Daniels does not necessarily expire. However, in certain conditions, it can go bad. Over time, especially once opened, the bottle of whiskey can undergo changes, and alterations will occur to the flavor.
An unopened bottle of whiskey can last years without going bad if stored correctly. However, with improper storage, the taste and quality of Jack Daniels can significantly deteriorate.
The Impact of Oxygen
Oxygen is whiskey’s biggest enemy. With a sealed bottle, the oxidation effects are minimal. However, when opened, the rate will increase and change the whiskey’s flavor. The emptier the bottle is, the faster the oxidation. The excess oxygen that has entered the bottle is partly responsible for the whiskey going bad.
If the cap of the Jack Daniels is left off and the whisky is exposed to air, the opened whiskey will gradually evaporate and begin to degrade. It won’t go rancid like an open carton of milk; however, it will deteriorate, nevertheless.
Therefore, you should enjoy your Jack Daniels before its starts to go funky. Even with correct storing, the whiskey bottle is bound to let air in if it has been kept for too many years. Overall, we could say that the rate of it going bad depends on the volume in the bottle and its storage.
How Long Does Jack Daniels Last?
How long Jack Daniels whiskey lasts depends on whether the bottle is opened, closed, or stored correctly or not. Unopened whiskey lasts longer than an opened bottle.
Left in proper conditions, an unopened bottle has a shelf life of 10 years or more before noticeable changes to the quality or taste start to appear. So technically, unopened whiskey doesn’t really expire. However, keep in mind that whiskey can evaporate through the bottle’s cork if it has one, and so it could be gradually decreasing in volume even when sealed.
Telling you exactly how long an opened bottle of Jack Daniels lasts is not as simple as you might think. Once the whiskey bottle is opened, the air is bound to go in, thus, shortening its shelf life dramatically.
An opened bottle of Jack Daniels has a shelf life between six months to two years. The exact duration depends on several factors, especially on the volume left in the bottle and how it’s stored. The less the amount of whiskey, the more air is present in the bottle.The more air, the greater the speed of oxidation that leads to a change in flavor.
If your Jack Daniels bottle is half-full, the whiskey could last about one to two years after being opened. However, if only a quarter of the bottle is left, the shelf life is about six months after opening.
Don’t save your half-empty bottle of Jack Daniels. Instead, enjoy it more often before it starts getting funky. It is best to drink up the half-full bottle within six months after opening and the quarter-full bottle within three months.
If you’re past the midpoint of the Jack Daniels bottle, you could decant the whisky into a smaller glass bottle. This reduces the amount of air in a bottle and stops further oxidation, thus extending the whisky’s shelf life.
|Condition||Shelf Life||Consume For Best Quality|
|Unopened||10 years||10 years|
|Opened - Half Full||1-2 years||6 months|
|Opened - Quarter Full||6 months||3 months|
How to Tell if Jack Daniels Has Gone Bad
Before adding club soda to your old and dusty Jack Daniels whisky, you’re probably going to want to check if it has gone bad. If it has, you’re going to end up throwing it out either way, so don’t waste perfectly good soda with it.
As mentioned earlier, whisky and air don’t go well together. When the distilled alcoholic beverage is exposed to air, the process of taste and quality change accelerates. The alteration in taste might be so bad that you will discard it for quality purposes.
As soon as it is opened, even sometimes before, whiskey starts to evaporate. Alcohol evaporates faster than water, so some of the alcoholic kick is lost when left for a while. This results in a more mellow and smooth drink.
The exact way the air interacts with whisky is difficult to foresee. Sometimes people enjoy the “tired” taste of whiskey, while other times, it’s atrocious on the taste buds.
However, if you still have doubts that your Jack Daniels has gone bad, you can look for these tell-tale signs.
Start by checking the color of the whiskey. As watery components evaporate, the color of the whiskey will start to appear darker and become slightly syrupy. If it has turned lighter in color, that means the bottle’s storage is improper, and it had been kept in sunlight.
Another way to tell if it had gone bad is by smelling the opened whiskey. Should it smell bad or odd, it’s probably past its prime.
If all looks and smells okay, you can take a tiny sip to identify if the taste has been altered. If it is less strong than usual with noticeable flavor changes, it’s probably old. It might be safe to drink. However, if there is an odd taste, such as metallic, sour, or other, it’s best to discard the bottle.
In addition to looking at the whisky itself, observe the bottle and screw cap or cork. If there are signs of mold or damage, discard the alcohol.
How to Store Jack Daniels
Proper storage is key if you want your Jack Daniels bottle to last. It takes more than just throwing the bottle somewhere in the kitchen. If stored properly, an unopened bottle of Jack Daniels can last for over a decade. Several factors should be kept in mind.
Alcohol has two main enemies, air and light. That’s why Jack Daniels bottles should be kept in a dark place. Exposure to sunlight is a big no; UV rays fade out the color of the whiskey. Keeping bottle in a closed liquor cabinet or cellar could do the job.
When storing the bottle, you want to keep it in a place with a temperature cooler than room temperature. Avoid any sudden changes in temperature or extremes. For example, never allow it to be near a heat source.
As you might have noticed, whiskey and wine differ. Their storage techniques are not an exception.
Whilst wine is often stored on its side, whiskey bottles should be stored upright, especially corked bottles. The alcohol content in whiskey is much greater than that in wine, so a cork wouldn’t be too happy. However, this isn’t a concern with the screw cap of most Jack Daniels bottles.
Lastly, protect Jack Daniels whiskey from its main rival, air. Make sure to always tightly screw the cap on. From time to time, check if the cap needs retightening.