Whisky Connosr


Empty Bottles.......What to do.

2 27

Glenmax started a discussion

I have recently decided that because I have the space, to keep my individual empty bottles inside their original boxes if available and store them. This may sound like I am starting a bottle collection or becoming the crazy bottle hoarder. However I have realized that having the bottles available for reference (price, content, still info, region...etc.) is a easy way to track changes in labeling and price adjustments. What do you do with your old bottles?

14 years ago

27 replies

markjedi1 replied

I do not keep the bottles (I just don't have the space), but I do collect/keep the labels. It's a bit of a fuss to get them off, but worth the trouble, I think.

14 years ago 2Who liked this?

LeFrog replied

I'm a shameless hoarder and I find it hard to throw the bottles or packaging away.

14 years ago 1Who liked this?


I started off collecting the bottles. The Wife quickly put a stop to that. But in all honesty, I don't really have the space for a bunch of empty whisky bottles. So my solution, as soon as I get a bottle- purchase or gift- I photograph the packaging and the bottle. Then when I finish the bottle I remove the label and place it in a notebook along with a small print of the photo. I've gotten better at removing labels and now it's easier to throw the empty bottle away.

14 years ago 5Who liked this?

Griff5w replied

What method do you use to remove the label?

@ClaySomething - I like the idea of creating a 'scrap-book' with the labels and pictures.

14 years ago 0

Ridley replied

"Bottle collector sounds so much better than alcoholic" - Stewart Francis

12 years ago 7Who liked this?

MFish85 replied

I throw them out for the most part. I've only kept a couple that are discontinued or where the design of the packaging has changed.

12 years ago 1Who liked this?

Imprimatur replied

My name is Imprimatur and I'm a bottle hoarder. There, it's out! I find it hard to throw away the bottles I've finished. Not only is it a beautiful sight, all those bottles in their original boxes lined up in my bureau, it's also like Glenmax said an easy way to track changes or just to have as a reference in the future. I will keep doing this untill I run out of place. The next step shall be removing the labels and place it with my tasting notes. I like the idea of ClaySomething, perhaps I'll ad a photograph of the packaging and the (full) bottle with it.

12 years ago 0


I'm very glad to hear I'm not the only one holding on to boxes & bottles! I figure someday I'll figure out what to do with them all, a display in my studio perhaps? Maybe make lamps out of them! :)

12 years ago 0

Mammon replied

I keep the boxes (I somehow like them even if most of them are just paper) but I throw away the bottles. It makes my sad to see empty whisky bottles...

12 years ago 0

scribe replied

A few years ago I kept a few for putting candles in, which worked quite well. These days I have too much stuff, so I'll reluctantly recycle them usually. A strange mix of emotions to see any limited-run bottle out with the rest of the recycling :)

12 years ago 0


We rebuilt our kitchen last winter. The interior walls (where no insulation would go) offered terrific cavities for time capsules so we wrote notes about the history of our place, put the notes in empty bottles that had held some unusual single malts, recorked the bottles, and hid them away behind the new walls. The rest of our empties go to the recycle bin.

12 years ago 3Who liked this?

Alanjp replied

Some of the bottles i've had i would love to have kept, but i simply don't have the space so they all end up being recycled :-(

12 years ago 0

kharmin replied

I donate my empties to my father-in-law who cleans them and uses them to bottle wine.

12 years ago 0

Donough replied

I have to say most whisky bottles are not interesting for me (I do like some of the Nikka bottles, markers mark and kilbeggan 15). I find cognac XO bottles especially far more interesting.

12 years ago 0

Moose replied

I don't keep old bottles anymore, for reference purposes though, I have started logging purchases into an excel sheet (including prices, dates purchased, etc...). Easier than finding space for bottles in my case.

12 years ago 0

AboutChoice replied

Though I don't have the space to save them, I really dislike recycling distinctive empty bottles, especially the apothecary bottles from Aberlour or Bruichladdich, or Glenrothes bottles. I sometimes save distinctive discontinued bottles such as Michael Collins Irish. I'm impressed that so many of you save the labels. But, you can only have so many vases, candle holders and bottle lamps :)

12 years ago 0

rwbenjey replied

You could make lamps out of them : ) That's what I may do.

12 years ago 0

EvaRees replied

It's true, memorable bottles are hard to throw out! Especially those with a lovely shape (Highland Park, Glenrothes, for example). I'm a graphic designer, and anything recent from Bruichladdich also is a little bit of visual treasure much too difficult to part with.

I've been to a few bars which use cleaned (label-less, but obvious from the shape -- like Bulleit) ex-whiskey bottles as water pitchers for the tables. I like this, and have tried it at home. Also my husband and I make a few of our own spirits and experiments. We've made non-alcoholic ginger syrup, a ginger liqueur, homemade vanilla extract (simple, so much better!!), and some simple infusions. We're currently waiting on a quince liquor to balance out, and perhaps we'll try our hand at some bitters in the coming months. It's a pleasure to bottle these into our lovely empties, as opposed to boring plain blank bottles.

12 years ago 0

Rover replied

@evarees I also keep all the empty boxes and have them stashed in big sealed plastic boxes in the garage, ready for when i have a big enough room to show them all..As for the bottles, all my empties are displayed on shelves in my outside bar area. I take them in for the winter, dust them off an put them outside in the summer...sad, i know, but find it hard to throw them away...

12 years ago 0

Wodha replied

I save the thick interesting ones (Aberfeldy, Templeton, 1Liter, etc...) clean them well. Every summer we go camping around Western Washington where there's swift rivers and strong tides. My friends and family put messages and a dollar bill (my wide's idea to attract attention) into these bottles, cork and seal them with wax then throw them into moving waters. I have a special gmail account we put in our messages. My record so far is 47 miles over 3 months. There's several I have not heard about and I'm hoping to someday from Asia or beyond.

12 years ago 1Who liked this?

Dramlette replied

@Wodha, I love your bottle project. It reminds me of the 1000 Journals begun over 10 years ago by Someguy in San Francisco (www.1000journals.com). Blank journals were sent all around the world and many are still in circulation. I currently have #979. A wonderful documentary was made about the project by Andrea Kreuzhage entitled, "1000 Journals" (www.1000journalsfilm.com). Just writing this note this evening is inspiring me to do a "Whisky Page" in the journal.

12 years ago 1Who liked this?

ssmith84 replied

The girlfriend and I are looking starting on buyinfg a house, so naturally I have begun drawnings of my basement bar. I'm looking into hand making my bar and building it deep on the top, filling with the empties, coating in clear lacquer and lighting the underside. The goal is when looking down into the bar you will see the bottles down in the lacquer you will see whiskies from round the world that I have loved very much. It's becoming bold, inovative and sadly expensive. But I think it will be something unque and fun. Any opinions...?

@Wodha your project is epic. @two-bit cowboy the time capsule thing is awesome too

12 years ago 1Who liked this?

Victor replied

@ssmith84, you are the tried and true whisky guy, designing the house from the most important features first!

Before I became a whisky guy I never would have understood putting such focus on the bar. Now it seems completely normal.

12 years ago 1Who liked this?

Wodha replied

@ssmith84 I too am remodeling my whiskey shelf and want to make it nice yet without spending to much as the money I save will go to whisky. I recently remodeled my kitchen using Ikea cabinets. I believe they carry lit shelving. I too want dramatic lighting and the ability to adjust the brightness. I'm currently planning on using 12" deep cabinets with glass doors. I'll post more when I actually start on the project. Seems like there was a discussion here a year or two ago about this very topic.

12 years ago 1Who liked this?

Dramlette replied

I've seen wine bottles cut down to make glasses. No reason it couldn't be done with some of whisky empties for rocks glasses. The lip might be a little too thick for my taste, but I can imagine using the glasses for candle holders, etc., oh, and giveaways, 'cause really, who needs more glasses?

I am thinking any of those bottles with a narrower base like Compass Box, Talisker, Sazerac Antique Collection, Laphroig, Ardbeg (nice flare at the bottom). You could try cutting them yourself: curbly.com/users/plastolux/… or have someone do it for you: inhabitat.com/custom-glasses-recycled-from-…

12 years ago 0

Pudge72 replied

My approach, due to space and cost considerations (the 'whisky bottle bar' idea sounds awesome!!!), I will likely adopt the method used by @AboutChoice where I will be saving the distinctive/unique bottles, and getting rid of the 'standard' looking bottles. For example Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix (opaque and triangular) and Glen Breton 10 (only Canadian single malt whisky, in a square bottle with inset sides, similar to Elmer T Lee bourbon) will definitely be kept, while Te Bheag and Compass Box Spice Tree may not make the cut (though, with the TB label being in Gaelic, and the CBST being a taller than 'normal' bottle, both may survive).

Oops...I've now realized that most of the bottles in my cabinet may qualify as 'keepers' for one reason or another...I may need to re-think the criteria...oh well, I'll cross those bridges when I actually start to accumulate empties.

I will also keep any 200 & 375 ml bottles for decanting larger bottles.

12 years ago 0

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