How to Store a Cognac Bottle

How do I store a Cognac bottle?  It’s a question that we’re often asked, and is something that many people have varying opinions on.  Another often raised question is, how long can you keep an unopened bottle of Cognac?

So, in answer to the many requests for information on the subject, here are some considerations to take into account regarding best practice when it comes to storing Cognac.

The first thing to understand is that Cognac does not continue to age once bottled.  This means that storing a bottle for 10 years (or more) will not make it any older – the contents will remain the same age as they were when they left the barrel.  However, this doesn’t mean that it’s not worth buying an exceptional bottle and storing it for as long as you like.  As we’ve reported many times, there are a great many people who’re investing in high-end Cognacs, rather than entrusting their money to the coffers of the banks.

and old cognac bottle

So, with regards to an unopened and sealed bottle of Cognac, if stored correctly then the contents will remain safe for a good amount of time.

What is the best way to store my Cognac bottle?

You may well have heard that the bottle must be stored in an upright position so the Cognac doesn’t come into contact with the cork, and this may well be correct.

However, cork is not a substance that has an infinite lifespan, and if it’s not in contact with the Cognac at all then it might become dry.  Bottles should be kept in the shade and in a cool place with no extremes of temperature – a cellar is ideal.

But, a word of advice – if the environment is too humid, the labels might suffer and come off the bottle – obviously not an ideal scenario.  This is why a cellar often proves a hospitable place to store Cognac, with the temparature in such a place remaining fairly constant, as well as ensuring that the bottle isn’t exposed to any sunlight.

And when it comes to understanding the best temperature at which to keep your Cognac, then the most important thing to consider is that it’s constant.  In other words, no extremes of temperature.  Indeed, room temperature is quite sufficient.

If you open a bottle of Cognac, how long will it keep?

Regarding an open bottle, then there’s no official amount of time a Cognac can be stored before the quality will begin to fade.  However, once the Cognac comes into contact with the air, it will gradually begin to deteriorate and evaporate.  The more air in the bottle, the faster this will happen.

Realistically, you can think that it’s okay to store an open bottle of Cognac for around six months before this deterioration becomes noticeable.  If you wish, you can decant the contents into a smaller container.  This ensures the air to liquid ratio remains as small as possible, helping to slow the deterioration process.

But even though an open bottle will deteriorate with age, it’s still fine to drink.  It’s just that you might notice a difference in the taste as the months go by.

How long can you keep Cognac?

Now, this is a very commonly asked question; how many years can you keep a bottle in your cellar?  Well, the simple answer is, for a long time – but not too long.  Old Cognacs are a fragile product.

So there you have it.  Our advice on how to store a Cognac bottle.  We hope it answers many of the questions of those who’ve taken the time to write in.  And naturally, if someone has an opinion. remark, something to add or even to correct, please use the comment section below.

Comments (25)

  1. cognac@brandyclassics July 1, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    It is actually not currently true to say that you can store cognac indefinitely, certainly modern cognacs can be stored in glass for very long periods but a gradual deterioration will occur as a result of the cork gradually breaking down in the cognac vapour. It is normally recommended that the cork should be changed every ten years. We have found that a cork will last double that time providing the bottle is stored correctly. There is also a requirement for the cork to be sealed so that the air cannot pass through the dry cork as it gets older. Most bottles are wax sealed to prevent this happening.
    There is one further and relatively unusual phenomena which can be a problem with very old cognacs. We have come across a few cases where the spirit can laminate away from the remaining water content and this is usually caused by poor or agressive handling of the bottle. Old cognacs do become fragile and must be handled very carefully. very old cognacs that have broken down are instantly recognisable when tasted, the alcohol level will drop away significantly and will it provide a flavout rather like water that you have washed old leather boots in!

  2. Narada Brind'Amour July 1, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    “On the other hand, if the cork is not in contact with the cork at all,“ could possibly be
    “On the other hand, if the cork is not in contact with the cognac at all,“ ?
    And so much thanks for thoses great answers.

  3. ahmad assegaf September 1, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    yesterday I bought an extra martin remy excellence already in the store with people that I bought a 7 year deal and when I get home I go to try to taste the sense that when I open the cognac bottle cap his cork moist try weathered like I finally prying with a knife and I do remy martin xo moved him to the bottle which I had Martell cordon bleu because unfortunately if yawn .. anyone ever had experiences like saua? or understand why this happens?

  4. Per October 11, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    Lying flat on a suitable shelf, as what I have “heard”…!? As it happens, I have a bottle of very old cognac, -perhaps 100 years old, at least- any suggestions…?

  5. Nort October 12, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    Bottles must be stored upright so that the cognac does not come into contact with the cork. On the other hand, if the cork is not in contact with the cognac at all, the cork may become dry, therefor turn your bottle upside down once/twice every year.

  6. Paul December 11, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    Hello everyone, I work for a valuation company in the US that is contracted by insurance companies for claims. I usually handle damages to wine cellars but I was recently given a cellar containing only cognac to assess. I know quite a bit about wine but am rather ignorant when it comes to spirits.

    I have been able to find near nothing pertaining to potential heat damage on cognac. The cognacs for the cellar I am assessing were exposed to temperatures around or just exceeding 100F for several days in a row. These are all expensive Cognacs such as Remy Martin Extra FIne Champagne, Henessy Richard Extra, etc…

    The stoppers on the decanters, which are all still sealed, appear to be a little raised, about 2 to 3 milimeters. So it is possible that the heat was enough to expand the liquid and cause this as it will invariably do to wine exposed at such temperatures. Otherwise there no damage to any of the bottles/decanters.

    In your opinion:
    a) will this kind of heat affect the Cognac itself?
    b) how about its value for collectors?

    Thank you so much for any help you could provide me, or the referral to any literature on the subject. I have perused the entire Los Angeles central library collection of books devoted to wine and spirits, which is quite extensive, but to no avail.

  7. Alvin December 12, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    What is the point of using a cork to seal the bottle if the point is to keep things air tight? (other than reasons of tradition)

    Can i argue that the best way to store cognac is to replace the cork with an air tight stopper made with non-degradable materials?

  8. michele December 28, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    Thanks for the straight forward and simple article. It sounds like my simple and unspectacular bottle of Hennessy although opened for a couple of years will still serve fine for my Coq Au Vin recipe tomorrow as long as the cork has not turned to dust in the meantime. Perhaps I should give you folks the recipe as it is a superb way to use up that old cognac, that is likely to have gone too old to offer a pleasant drink. That would perhaps be a nice addition to your site. Thanks again

  9. Gib December 31, 2012 at 4:03 am

    I still haven’t received a definite answer as how to properly store cognac. I have heard store like wine so cork stays moist but on the other hand it will destroy the taste of the cognac. So my question is what is the proper way. Thanks

  10. Dick Gibbs December 31, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    I have been a lover of cognac for many years and bought a house in Jarnac. The home of such brands as Hine, Louis Royer, Corvoisier,Dalamain and many more.
    Our house was once part of AE Dor cognac and the remaining buildings around us still house some of the oldest and finest cognac in the world. I have visited the paradis cave on many occasions and can assure you all the bottles and demijohns are standing upright with wax seals. If you visit their web site the first page has a picture of the paradis confirming my observations.
    Cool, humid dark and upright I would say is the best way to store your cognac.
    Don’t worry about the length of time you keep it since it’s a drink that has to be in a glass to be fully appreciated. Then and only then try and make it last as long as possible.
    Once the cognac has left the barrel it’s taste will never change. It is the job of le nez to ensure every XO is blended to taste and smell the same year after year which is why the bottles are undated unlike wine.
    The value of the cognac comes from the rarity of indidual blends it is made from some over 200 years old. These are fast running out hence the never ending search for old demijohns or barrels hidden away in old houses and cellers. You are unlikely to get the opportunity to buy one of these so let some one else worry about it and get on the serious business of drinking in my opinion the King of spirits.
    Cheers Dick……

  11. Mister P October 30, 2013 at 1:44 am

    I find many notes discussing cognacs in bottles but would like to know what is wrong with my handling. I pour my cognac into a crystal bottle with a crystal/glass stopper. The stopper will not stay in the bottle. Comments ? P

  12. suzanne November 12, 2013 at 8:49 pm

    Hi, my dad gave me a bottle of 1955 remy martin cognac he was stationedin franceand bought it there. It has evaporated a bit is it safe tp drink????

  13. How to Store a Cognac Bottle | Cognac | November 20, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    […] How to Store a Cognac Bottle: cognac does not age once bottled, should be standing? in the shade? lying on the ground? in a cellar and what about temperature?  […]

  14. Hemant March 1, 2014 at 2:22 am

    I have Camus XO cognac bottle with glass lid and cannot open it. Any tricks?

  15. Eric June 24, 2014 at 5:00 am

    If it helps, had a small amount of Remy X.O remaining which I had to drink to make room for the Cellar no.28 reserve, both we’re very impressive 🙂

  16. Marlies June 28, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    I was given a bottle of cognac in 1969. At the time I was told by the Frenchman, who gave it to me, that it came from the year 1935. As there is no date on the label, I am not sure.
    The label says:
    Grand Fine Champagne
    Reserva de la Famille
    J.P. Menard et fils St Meme (Chte)

    and has the bottle number 000118

    Can anyone tell me anything about this cognac?

  17. DP October 13, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    Would it not be reasonable, for long-term storage, to just put the bottle in a tight, sealed plastic bag or wrap it in similar film? To do the cork’s job better. Or something along these lines? I’m “trying to invent” a hermetic outside container that would last for ages and make the cork and the bottle’s position irrelevant.

  18. johnny December 30, 2015 at 7:50 am

    Don’t let the brandy touch the cork stopper indefinitely. I lost 1/3 of a bottle of Paradis to this error this year. The bottle is about 7 years old and I am now faced with a replacement bottle costing $700 vs the $279.99 I paid for this one. The brandy is still decent but a far cry from the outstanding one it was just a winter ago.

  19. michael yates March 2, 2016 at 10:32 am

    I have still not been informed how to store Courvoisier Erte, can you help?

  20. Mike May 30, 2017 at 11:31 am

    I own two bottle of Landy Brandy which I have kept for 15 years, I noticed the floating particles inside the two, what are this?

  21. Mike May 30, 2017 at 11:33 am

    Are the two bottles of Landy with floating particles safe to drink?

  22. Rosemary Luz December 10, 2017 at 7:30 am

    I have an opened bottle of supermarket-bought cognac vs that has been in my kitchen cupboard for eight years or so. Should I throw it away?

  23. Tom April 13, 2018 at 2:39 am

    Can I drink an unopened bottle of Hennessy from 1939

  24. Katja ( May 17, 2018 at 4:19 pm

    Hey Tom,

    theoretically, you can!

  25. Peter November 28, 2018 at 9:58 am

    hi Peter here! Have been in the cognac business for + 40 years!
    You can drink anything with ethyl alcohol inside… but it will not always taste good..and not so good för your healt! People were not so healty long time ago..used, lead, arsenic, and stuff like that when producing grapes and old bottles contained lead and other things…

    The old champagne bottles from the Baltic contained something like this:The shipwrecked champagne contained unusually high levels of iron 118 μg (1 μg today) lead 554 μg (27 today), copper 1400 μg (27 today) and arsenic 415 μg (82 today) compared to modern vintages .. these bottles was tasted by me and Richard Juhlin …he found them very good tasting!!! But not healty! ( but he didn’t knew these numbers as the liquid hade not been tested yet!)

    Keep your bottles standing dark and not to warm..and turn the bottles just to moist the cork 1-2 times a year…put plastic over the bottletop! You can get a taste of cork failure TCA if it the cork is in contact with the cognac too long….


    But if you buy ” brut de fût” your cognac will keep better!
    Connoisseurs always avoid them, for taste and value!
    Good luck!
    A votre sante

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