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Preserving the Quality: How Long Does Cognac Last?

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If there is a word to define Cognac, it is elegance. The French created this fancy drink, and it became so popular with the world that 98% of Cognac that they manufacture is exported internationally.

Pronounced as Kon-yak, Cognac is one of the most popular spirits that contains 40 percent of alcohol.

The Ugni Blanc grapes make up the vast majority of the grape variety used to make Cognac. Additionally, smaller portions of Colombard and Folle blanc are also mixed with Ugni blanc.

What gives Cognac its distinct flavor and makes it so unique are the French oak barrels sourced from Limousin or Troncais, where it is aged for at least two years before bottling.

Interestingly, the copper pots used to distill Cognac last approximately 50 years due to high acidity and heat.

Cognacs are categorized as Very Special, Very Superior Old Pale, or Extra Old depending on the number of years aged ( two, four, or six years) in oak barrels.

How Long Does Cognac Last? Does Cognac Go Bad?

Cognac contains a very high percentage of alcohol.

Thus, it is impossible for contamination by bacteria and other microbes, which means that Cognac can last indefinitely. But that does not imply that Cognac will retain its peak flavor and taste forever.

If you poorly seal Cognac, it will react with oxygen, which will alter its chemical composition and taste. You must transfer it to smaller bottles to reduce its contact with air as much as possible to counter this.

The alcohol in Cognac can also evaporate if you store it at even a slightly higher temperature. This is why all alcoholic drinks, including Cognac, need storage in a cool and dry place.

As long as you appropriately store it, Cognac will not go bad. And you can drink it after several years past the best by date.

But improper storage can expose Cognac to air, sunlight, heat, and oxygen, which can alter the content and degrade the quality of Cognac.

Cognac bottles are sealed with a cork and generally shrunk with plastic or metal cap, and expensive ones even come with a wax seal.

So, an unopen Cognac bottle is entirely safe from external causes for degradation and you can keep it indefinitely without losing its taste.

But once you open the seal, consume it within six months to a year. The Cognac will not go wrong, but it may not taste great later.

How long your Cognac lasts will depend on how well you store it.

A tip for storing Cognac would be to keep the bottle in an upright position to prevent the strong spirit from cork. As old cork can become loose, replace it after 20 years.

How to Tell if Cognac is Bad?

As mentioned earlier, Cognac doesn’t go bad. But its taste can become duller.

If you have a discerning palate, a slight change in the taste of Cognac can be disappointing and unpleasant. If the taste changes considerably, you won’t enjoy drinking it at all.

But for the less discerning palate, Cognac can still be enjoyed after degradation in its quality.

Expired Cognac will not make you sick. Pour yourself some leftover from a several years old bottle, and it will still be drinkable Cognac.

Cognac may become slightly cloudy in appearance, but there are no other signs to indicate that it has gone bad because it doesn’t. If exposed to air, it can get oxidized, which can significantly alter the taste of Cognac.

Moreover, the alcohol evaporates faster than water, and it can escape. But it all translates to one thing: the taste becomes flat.

So, rely on your sense of taste to find out how lousy Cognac is from its original quality. That’s pretty much the only way to find out. If it tastes horrible, you can discard it.

If you are wondering if it will get better with age, it is also a no. Cognac won’t get spoiled, but it will not get better either. You can buy a bottle of Cognac and store it for as long as you wish.

However, aging stops when it is taken out of the barrel and bottled, so its taste will remain the same as when it left the oak barrels in France.


Cognac is stylish with its complex, rich, and powerful taste. It is an exceptional spirit that is delicate yet versatile. It will warm your bones and make you feel confident.

The exquisite flavor of wood, spices, fruits, and alcohol is blended into every sip, and every drink is a relishing experience.

Store it in a dry, cool, and dark place to ensure that the quality remains top-notch.

The high content of alcohol in Cognac, however, poses a significant risk to your health. While moderate drinking can be considerably healthy for some, it may serve as poison to others. Hence, moderate drinking is necessary.

How Long Does Cognac Last? Does Cognac Go Bad?

Recipe by Kimberly Baxter Course: Shelf Life


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  • Cognac

  • Air-tight containers or Ziplock bags

  • Labels and markers


  • Read the guide thoroughly to learn how long it lasts.
  • Check the "Best-by-date" to know when it expires.
  • Make sure to store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place (pantry or fridge).

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