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.

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Jacki has been with Cognac Expert from virtually the beginning. She's the senior editor of the blog, and has spent much of her life living in rural France. Today she's based back in the UK, where she splits her working life between writing for Cognac Expert and working as a Paramedic at a large regional hospital.


  1. Avatar

    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

  2. Avatar

    As claimed by the famous cognac houses that once bottled the cognac does not age, I beg to differ on the taste. I am a drinker who gets frustrated with a sudden ‘pungent’ alcohol, which is definitive of VSOP. So I tend to purchase matured XO that has been kept for at least 20 years. I know the master tasters will be far superiors to my tastebuds, but it’s a matter of personal choice. I do not get the burning alcohol and actually I can really taste the various notes of these. Anyone here share what I have experienced?

  3. Avatar

    My mother amassed a collection of XO cognac 31 years ago. The boxes got immediately discarded and she leaves them on show in a drinks cabinet. Some 20yrs later she decide to open a Martell XO and the cork just broke with ease and stuck inside the bottle. I think the bottles should have been left inside the box it came in because daylight can not only affect the drink itself but can dry out the cork making it brittle.
    I recently purchased a bottle of Lembert XO from Cognac Expert, it does not have a box so I put the bottle in a spare Courvoisier VSOP box.

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