Does Cognac Go Bad? How Long Does Cognac Last? (Answered)

Cognac is an exquisite French drink that is admired and enjoyed by many people throughout the world. This might have you wondering how long you can enjoy its rich flavor and luscious texture and how to actually store it properly to get the best use and taste out of it. 

Does cognac go bad? How long does cognac last?

Cognac usually does not go bad. However, once you have opened it and kept it in the wrong storage conditions for years it can develop a slight odor. Due to cognac containing a very high amount of alcohol, bacteria cannot contaminate. When stored properly, you can make it last indefinitely.

Champagne cognac:

Champagne cognacs usually tend to contain high levels of alcohol. This means that it will never spoil or become inedible for you. Even though it is possible to make it last a very long time, there are some factors that can affect the longevity of the cognac. 

It might oxidize or the liquid may also start to evaporate which can ruin the taste. If you store it properly you can expect it to last you decades. 

Remy Martin cognac:

If the bottle remains unopened then it is still drinkable for a very long time. Once you open it, after a certain while, you will notice unwanted sediments. 

If it is unopened then the taste might alter and the volume might decrease, but it will still be safe to consume. Keep in mind that the more the alcohol content your bottle has it is more likely to stay well for longer periods of time.

Martell cognac:

Once you open your bottle of Martell cognac and it starts getting exposed to the environment, the quality of it will start to decline over time. The more the amount of air it is exposed to, the faster the quality will decline. 

It can take around 6 months for the quality to really decline and not be edible anymore. If you keep it unopened and store it properly you can expect to have it around for a much longer time period. 

Brandy cognac:

Since Brandy also has a very high level of alcohol present in it, even if it is opened, it is unlikely to go bad since bacteria or mold cannot grow inside it. Even an opened bottle of brandy can be edible for many years only if it is sealed and stored properly. 

Only the taste will not be as rich as before.

Courvoisier cognac:

To preserve the texture and taste of Courvoisier cognac you should not consume it a year after opening it. Even then you must store it properly to get the full taste. 

If unopened, it can be drinkable for many more years to come since cognac necessarily does not go bad if it has a high alcohol content in it. 

What is the shelf life of cognac?

More than the edibility of cognac, it is the taste and quality that differ when it comes to cognac’s shelf life. 

Unopened cognac:

Unopened cognac has the highest shelf life. If your cognac has a high concentration of alcohol it means that any form of mold or bacteria will not grow inside it because the condition is not ideal for that. 

If you store it properly then it will still be edible even after a thousand years. 

Opened cognac:

Even when it comes to a bottle of opened cognac, if it has a high content of alcohol in it then it’s likely that it will stay well for one year till many years. However, once exposed to light or air over long periods of time it will start to oxidize and evaporate. 

This can significantly deteriorate the quality and make it have an odor. Sometimes, if the alcohol content is lower, you might even see unwanted deposits. Usually opened cognacs, if stored properly, stay well for a few years only.

In decanter:

Decanters are used more for presentation purposes. In a decanter, cognacs will come more in contact with air and heat. Even though they will not go bad, their quality will start to deteriorate badly after a year once it starts to oxidize and evaporate. 

It will be much lighter and not rich in taste. There might be a slight odor too. 

Does Cognac go bad if not opened?

Cognac will not go bad if unopened provided that it is stored properly. The high alcohol content prevents any bacteria and mold from pooling meaning it remains good for a long period of time. 

However, the quality will decline over time but it will still be completely safe to consume even after decades. 

How can you tell if cognac is bad?

Cognacs usually never go bad even after several years, it’s the quality and taste of it that degrades. 


When it starts to come into contact with air, cognac tends to oxidize. It will not have the rich taste anymore and instead have a weird texture as well as a weird taste. It will have a cloudy appearance which is a big indicator that the taste has altered. 


Over time the alcohol will evaporate and end up giving your cognac a very flat taste which is not likable by many people. It will still be safe to consume though.

Your sense of taste is the best telltale as to if your bottle of stored cognac is edible or not. Since cognacs usually never go bad and are safe to consume, you can have a very old bottle if the altered taste suits you. 


Sometimes storing cognac for very long periods of time may result in it having a weird odor. Even though it will still be safe to consume, the odor can throw off many people so it is better to throw it away. 


This very rarely happens but if an opened bottle of cognac is left improperly for years then you might notice deposits or small sediments forming at the bottom. In that case, you must not consume it and immediately throw it out. 

How to store a cognac bottle?

There are certain ways you can store your cognac bottle properly so that it serves you for a longer period of time. 

Determine if it is opened or unopened:

If your bottle of cognac is unopened then store it in a spot at your house where it is the darkest and coldest. 

Make sure your bottle does not come into contact with any warmth or light and store it in an upright state to prevent the cognac from touching the cork.

Strict storing for opened bottles:

Since opened cognac bottles are more time-sensitive you have to be more strict and careful in storing them so that the taste and texture still remain intact when you consume them. 

Start by decanting your cognac into smaller sealed bottles so that the declining process can be slower. 

Storing it:

It is best to store it in the coldest and driest place of your house. However, even if there is slight humidity then consider shoving it at the back of your fridge so that it does not come into contact with much air or warmth. 

Alteration in taste:

Regardless of how well you store your cognac, the taste will deteriorate once you have opened it and it has come into contact with air. Oxidation and evaporation will happen. 

Even though there are slim to no chances of the cognac getting bad, the taste will alter significantly. Unless you are fine with drinking flat cognac then avoid storing opened cognac for more than six months and enjoy the original rich flavor. 

Can old Cognac make you sick?

Old cognac will most likely not make you sick. The taste will significantly be altered which many people might enjoy while many people won’t. Even if it is cloudy and with a slight odor, it will still be perfectly safe to consume because cognac usually does not go bad. 

The smell and taste themselves might make you feel sick, but the cognac itself will not. The only time it may be if the cognac has been opened and not stored properly at all with some sediments forming at the bottom. 

Does Cognac improve with age?

Cognacs will not age or improve the longer you store them. In fact, the taste will start to alter and deteriorate through the process of oxidation and evaporation. 

If you keep it out for too long then high chances are that your cognac will form a slight odor and have a flat taste to it, losing its heavy texture and rich taste. 

Final Thoughts:

Cognac does not usually go bad, especially if it is stored properly. However, to retain and enjoy the best taste of cognac you must not leave it open for more than six months. The taste, texture, and quality will heavily decline if it is stored for longer periods of time.