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View Full Version : Is there something wrong with my PVW15?



BBQ+Bourbon
11-09-2009, 18:24
I have a bottle of PVW15 open and there is an off taste that I don't believe belongs here. It's what some of you call earthy, but to me it tastes like dirty, moldy cardboard. It tastes the way your grandmothers cellar smelled. This taste is very strong, probably the second most prominent in the glass. It's weaker in the nose, but after tasting it, that off smell is present. Honestly, this bottle is terrible. I have been looking forward to trying this pour for the longest time, and it's extremely disappointing.

I've tasted this once before, on a bottle of VSOF which is easily the worst whiskey I have ever tasted.

It looks like a lot of money down the drain at this point. I bought two bottles and this one is so terrible I am considering opening the second to see if it's just a bad bottle.

cigarnv
11-09-2009, 19:07
I was with a friend last evening who opened a new 2008 bottle of PVW15 that clearly had that wet cardboard / corked smell and taste. Purchased in early 2009 in Maryland. We could not drink it. I would contact BT.

Squash
11-09-2009, 20:44
Are you sure you're not drinking EC12?

On a serious note, my open bottle of PVW15 is great. It was purchased in late 2008, but it is difficult to what vintage it is. The only distinguishing marks on the bottle are the very small numbers on the lower left of the front label: "04.6074.01."

How does one tell what batch of PVW15 they are drinking?

funknik
11-09-2009, 20:59
Are you sure you're not drinking EC12?

On a serious note, my open bottle of PVW15 is great. It was purchased in late 2008, but it is difficult to what vintage it is. The only distinguishing marks on the bottle are the very small numbers on the lower left of the front label: "04.6074.01."

How does one tell what batch of PVW15 they are drinking?
My bottle says "06.6074.01" on the back label . . . I don't know if this means anything or not.

ErichPryde
11-09-2009, 21:21
there is another series of numbers on the PVW15 bottles- right below the back label, An empty bottle I have reads J0390815:36. Matt, your bottle would be within a few numbers of mine, or should be, I would think. There was a very, very slight mustiness to mine when I first opened it, but it wasn't unpleasant nor cardboard- more like old, dried out oak boards.

What number did you have? Strange that both you and I got bottles from the same source, yet yours would be bad.




Hmm. I remembered speaking to the owner of that particular liquor store when I purchased this bottle- he did say he got batches in twice during the year. It's possible your numbers won't match?

ErichPryde
11-09-2009, 21:29
I'm not sure what the numbers on the back and front labels mean. I have both of those exact numbers that you guys mentioned on both of my labels. Perhaps someone like MoBourbon could clear it up?

BBQ+Bourbon
11-10-2009, 19:44
Erich, I believe Julian has commented that those numbers are basically meaningless.

I sent an email to Buffalo Trace through their universal comment section tonight. I'll let you know how this turns out.

And for the record, Bourbon Geek is not a BT Quality Control agent. :slappin:

spun_cookie
11-10-2009, 20:44
That sucks man... you should stick with the Weller Centennial :D

ErichPryde
11-10-2009, 20:54
Erich, I believe Julian has commented that those numbers are basically meaningless.

I sent an email to Buffalo Trace through their universal comment section tonight. I'll let you know how this turns out.

And for the record, Bourbon Geek is not a BT Quality Control agent. :slappin:


was that a bottle you were going to send me a sample of? I'd like to compare that one to what I drank...

cigarnv
11-11-2009, 05:57
That sucks man... you should stick with the Weller Centennial :D

Can I order a case form Arizona???

MJL
11-11-2009, 08:01
I have a number of Pappy Van Winkle 15 year old Bourbon. To my taste buds it has almost a Cognac-like quality in that it is very nosey and refined. Pouring a drink of it fills the air with the spirit of the drink and perfumes the air.

unclebunk
11-11-2009, 08:53
Makes me nervous about the five bottles I have in the bunker. I'd hate to open one on a special occasion as a treat for friends and family, only to discover that it suffers from cork taint or some other problem.

ggilbertva
11-11-2009, 10:03
I have 5 bottles in the bunker, 4 purchased early 2006 and one purchased early 2008 (SB bottling). I've had one of the 2006 and it was fantastic. It sounds like the issues is more current so older bottles may not be affected. Just a thought.

unclebunk
11-11-2009, 11:10
I have 5 bottles in the bunker, 4 purchased early 2006 and one purchased early 2008 (SB bottling). I've had one of the 2006 and it was fantastic. It sounds like the issues is more current so older bottles may not be affected. Just a thought.

I'm sure you're right but there's one way to find out.:drink:

ErichPryde
11-11-2009, 11:53
I have 5 bottles in the bunker, 4 purchased early 2006 and one purchased early 2008 (SB bottling). I've had one of the 2006 and it was fantastic. It sounds like the issues is more current so older bottles may not be affected. Just a thought.


IMO, there isn't any need to discuss whether or not the issues are more "recent" or not. I have a bottle that came from the exact same place as the one BBQ+Bourbon has, and mine did not have the problem he is describing.


Maybe he did get a bad bottle... I don't know. But I don't think any of you guys need to worry about your bunkered Van Winkle.


I hope we don't start a panic here, but if any of you are worried I'd be more than happy to take any bunkred PVW15s for tasti- I mean, err.... testing. :cool:

StraightBoston
11-11-2009, 14:37
And for the record, Bourbon Geek is not a BT Quality Control agent. :slappin:

But etohchem is...

etohchem
11-11-2009, 15:09
Yes I am and as always please call the niumber on the back of the bottle and talk with the customer service lady, Linda. she will facilitate the return of the bottle and refund so that I can look at the bottel and determine the cause. Can't say from here but sounds like my nemisis: aka Cork Taint.

sailor22
11-11-2009, 15:28
Is a synthetic cork an option?

BBQ+Bourbon
11-11-2009, 20:15
I don't see a phone number on this bottle or any of my other Van Winkles. I can't find it on the web site or by doing a google search. The inquiry through the sites' generic email form has not generated a response. I'll send ectochem a pm and see if he has that number.

Hopefully she can replace the bottle.

ErichPryde
11-12-2009, 00:37
Yes I am and as always please call the niumber on the back of the bottle and talk with the customer service lady, Linda. she will facilitate the return of the bottle and refund so that I can look at the bottel and determine the cause. Can't say from here but sounds like my nemisis: aka Cork Taint.



How, exactly, does cork taint occur? Storing a bottle on its side for a long period of time? Heat? bad cork?

etohchem
11-12-2009, 10:26
Phone number 1-866-729-3722
Synthetic corks are usually disliked by purists. Synthetics don't "pop" like natural.
Can't replace the bottle, as a manufacturer we can't supply customer's with product directly, three-tier-system. Refunds only.
Cork taint is a chemical (TCA) left behind by natural occurring bacteria in cork. it is detectable in wine at 0.3part per trillion. There are systems in place to reduce, which the cork industry says is down to 1-2% from 10-12% in previous years. There is no way to test individual corks and still use them and corks from the same tree and side by side will be differently affected.
Because of the aesthetics of cork, it is a problem we live with and continuosly fight.
this does not mean that we don't want to hear the complaints nor should you be satisfied with a tainted bottle. We do want them back and want to hear about it.

Etohchem

etohchem
11-12-2009, 10:32
BTW cork taint is tainted no matter what you do. Side storage or age or any other factor doesn't help/hurt. If it has cork taint, it has it from day one. It doesn't get worse or happen more frequently over time. Older bottles are more affected because there weren't ways to reduce it in the past so this has lead to the fallacy of cork taint happening over time as older bottles have more cork taint.
Also it may be alleviated or helped by letting the whiskey breathe or air out, but you also lose whiskey flavor. If lightly afected it may dissapear, but this is infrequently the case.
Etohchem

funknik
11-12-2009, 10:34
And for the record, Bourbon Geek is not a BT Quality Control agent. :slappin:
My bad on that one, Matt -- it was etohchem -- he just responded to your post.

Special Reserve
11-12-2009, 17:15
I tell you, there is something wrong with my PVW15! The contents are disappearing too quickly.

ErichPryde
11-13-2009, 00:01
I tell you, there is something wrong with my PVW15! The contents are disappearing too quickly.



The emperor called, he wants his bottle of PVW15 back to match his invisible clothes. please PM me for shipping instructions.



:grin:

sailor22
11-17-2009, 09:38
I don't personally have a problem with synthetic cork in a premium pour. A little style is appreciated more than the material used to seal - ie WTRB, RHF etc.

Seems like even a screw top could be made interesting along the lines of some of the older (60's) Canadian premiums.

BBQ+Bourbon
11-17-2009, 19:57
I left a message at the number above last week and another today. No response from either message or the message I sent through the 'contact us' form. How many calls does their complaint line get, anyway?

As a longtime lover of OWA and recent fan of Van Winkle products, I really hope they get back to me soon. I'd probably stop drinking bourbon if I lost interest in the Weller and Van Winkle lines.

BBQ+Bourbon
11-17-2009, 20:00
Regarding corks, I don't like them. Imagine hanging on to a bottle of bourbon for 20 years for some special occassion, only to open it and find the cork is bad.

Since I care more about the contents than the bottle, I would like it if every bottle had a screw top with a wax seal.

unclebunk
11-17-2009, 20:15
Regarding corks, I don't like them. Imagine hanging on to a bottle of bourbon for 20 years for some special occassion, only to open it and find the cork is bad.

Since I care more about the contents than the bottle, I would like it if every bottle had a screw top with a wax seal.

You've raised a good point. There's something cool about pulling out a cork but it's not worth it if the juice inside the bottle is ruined due to cork taint. I've had my share of corks that have disintegrated over time but only one case of taint and it really sucked. Synthetic corks are fine by me and you won't hear me complaining about screw tops either. Hope your situation is resolved soon.

hectic1
11-17-2009, 20:52
I left a message at the number above last week and another today. No response from either message or the message I sent through the 'contact us' form. How many calls does their complaint line get, anyway?

As a longtime lover of OWA and recent fan of Van Winkle products, I really hope they get back to me soon. I'd probably stop drinking bourbon if I lost interest in the Weller and Van Winkle lines. Ditto here...I left a message about my chemical lased ETL 90th on Friday and I haven't heard anything back either...at least I know it's not just me! :D

ILLfarmboy
11-17-2009, 22:47
Regarding corks, I don't like them. Imagine hanging on to a bottle of bourbon for 20 years for some special occassion, only to open it and find the cork is bad.

Since I care more about the contents than the bottle, I would like it if every bottle had a screw top with a wax seal.

Yep.

It has taken me a long time to come 180 degrees from where I use to be, but I'm now 100 percent behind statements like yours.

And the wax seal ala Maker's Mark is a nice measure of security both from evaporation and tampering. I once got a bottle of ORVW 10/107 from Binny's that had been opened. I sent it back and they sent me a replacement.

SSWC
11-17-2009, 23:10
I haven't brought it up because the topic seemed to border on heretical, but yes, I've had a bad bottle of PVW15 a few years ago. I purchased it in late 2005 or early 2006 following a Whiskyfest tasting (that sample was great). The bottle I purchased had strong solvent/acetone notes and was undrinkable even after I left it alone for 3-4 months, hoping that the nastier notes would oxidize off. It didn't happen, and this particular bottle was so foul, I didn't even dare use it as a marinade as I had in the past for less than stellar bottles. Sorry to report, this bottle was dumped. :shithappens:

This was a surprise as all of the other PVW expressions I have tasted have been quite good.

T Comp
11-18-2009, 06:50
The bottle I purchased had strong solvent/acetone notes and was undrinkable even after I left it alone for 3-4 months, hoping that the nastier notes would oxidize off. It didn't happen, and this particular bottle was so foul, I didn't even dare use it as a marinade as I had in the past for less than stellar bottles. Sorry to report, this bottle was dumped. :shithappens:


Well I'm glad this hasn't happened to me with any of my Pappy's or other corked bottles yet but this is a good description of an 86 proof Old Fitz Prime I picked up at a Rite Aid in Kentucky last summer. Not so bad when you only paid $8.49 though.

BBQ+Bourbon
11-18-2009, 17:47
Yep.

It has taken me a long time to come 180 degrees from where I use to be, but I'm now 100 percent behind statements like yours.

And the wax seal ala Maker's Mark is a nice measure of security both from evaporation and tampering. I once got a bottle of ORVW 10/107 from Binny's that had been opened. I sent it back and they sent me a replacement.
Just think, if this bottle had a screw cap, I would be enjoying it instead of waiting for a call.

Great news! I think Buffalo Trace is going to take care of this soon.

Now to open the other bottle :D

docbible
11-18-2009, 20:30
Drinking a papppy 20 tonight. No cork taint but a very porous and mushy cork. There are dark stain lines to the top. I agree with the synthetic corks, its the contents that count not the sound at opening. tim

PVan
11-19-2009, 09:29
Just think, if this bottle had a screw cap, I would be enjoying it instead of waiting for a call.

Great news! I think Buffalo Trace is going to take care of this soon.

Now to open the other bottle :D

Our phone # is 502-897-9113 or you can email me at
pvanwinkle@oldripvanwinkle.com

hectic1
11-19-2009, 10:12
Ditto here...I left a message about my chemical lased ETL 90th on Friday and I haven't heard anything back either...at least I know it's not just me! :D
Just so everyone knows I had a great conversation with Linda at BT...they are definitely interested in making sure I'm happy with their products. I'm sending my bottle back to them so they can identify what's going on with it. She explained that she was a little behind due to some family issues which IMO take 100% precedence! Thanks again BT for correcting this issue for me. :cool:

jburlowski
11-19-2009, 16:40
Yep.

It has taken me a long time to come 180 degrees from where I use to be, but I'm now 100 percent behind statements like yours.

And the wax seal ala Maker's Mark is a nice measure of security both from evaporation and tampering. I once got a bottle of ORVW 10/107 from Binny's that had been opened. I sent it back and they sent me a replacement.

Again, Brad and I are (sigh :lol:) in agreement)...

As much as I like the tactile sound / touch / feel of pulling a cork stopper... all-in-all, I guess I'd rather have a twist-off. (Boy, that hurt more than I thought it would.)

Special Reserve
11-19-2009, 16:48
Again, Brad and I are (sigh :lol:) in agreement)...

As much as I like the tactile sound / touch / feel of pulling a cork stopper... all-in-all, I guess I'd rather have a twist-off. (Boy, that hurt more than I thought it would.)

+1 here as well.

When I was younger, I really liked that "pop" of the cork, but today I'd sooner have a secure and tasty product in the bottle. Additionally, I really hate it when a cork breaks which is not uncommon in older bottles such as Weller Centennial and WT12 CGL.

jburlowski
11-19-2009, 16:51
+1 here as well.

When I was younger, I really liked that "pop" of the cork, but today I'd sooner have a secure and tasty product in the bottle. Additionally, I really hate it when a cork breaks which is not uncommon in older bottles such as Weller Centennial and WT12 CGL.

Sigh... older bottles and older bodies seem to break at the most inopportune times.

hectic1
11-19-2009, 16:51
I would agree with this as well...maybe it's because I just had a cork tainted bottle of ETL. I like knowing that with my Weller 12's I can keep them for years and know that the juice inside won't disappoint when it's time to be had! :)

BBQ+Bourbon
11-19-2009, 19:39
Got a call from the sweet sweet woman at BT (forgot her name). She's a gem and I loved talking with her. She arranged for a pickup for my bottle and said they would issue a refund when they get the bottle. I'm sad to trade this bottle for money, but it's not much good for drinking.

Talk about customer service! I don't have a receipt because another SBer picked these up, but they are going to refund my purchase price and I think the shipping!

I have a newfound love for BT and picked up another Handy tonight.

Awesome!!!

spun_cookie
11-19-2009, 20:10
the BT clan are good folk... they almost care as much as FR.... which is a big deal... got to love the bourbonfolk

BBQ+Bourbon
12-30-2009, 17:34
For posterity, I wanted to update this thread.

First, I opened the second bottle in this thread, and it too was bad, though significantly less so. After coming back to the second bottle several times over a month or so, I was convinced it, too was bad. I sent one sample of the less-terrible bottle to ErichPryde and you can see his review here: http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?t=13284

The bottles have been sampled by the regular PVW tasting panel as well as Julian himself. They concluded that the bottles had a "strong bitter bite at the end" and were dry, and one was more flat than the other, but no cork taint in either. These two bottles were made 3 minutes apart.

I'm still waiting to see if they will refund the purchase of these two bad bottles.

ErichPryde
12-31-2009, 00:43
Cork taint or NO cork taint, that was terrible whiskey, and should never have borne the Pappy Van Winkle name. It was worse than the bottle of Weller 12 I purchased, and I hated that stuff- so that's saying a lot. Buffalo Trace should give you a refund just on the basis that that stuff ever made it into the bottle with the PVW15 name.



that's just my opinion. PVW15 is my number 1 or number 2 favorite whiskey, depending upon what temperature it is outside, how much sunlight I've been exposed to, how much water I've drank &c &c. that stuff never should have borne that name.

ErichPryde
12-31-2009, 00:47
after reviewing that email, I think they'll take care of you, though. no need to throw BT under the bus- they take care of their people. interesting info in there, thanks for that. suddenly the differences between the two bottles I have had make that much more sense.

p_elliott
12-31-2009, 09:44
Just for the record ( knock on wood) I have never had a bad bottle of anything from BT.

jburlowski
12-31-2009, 10:01
Just for the record ( knock on wood) I have never had a bad bottle of anything from BT.

Same here... and I have never noticed the musty smell that some have cited in BT products.

jeff
12-31-2009, 12:30
Unfortunately, I have noticed it in several BT bottlings. I too have had a bad PVW 15, plus several regular bottles of BT, plus an Eagle Rare SB, plus an ETL. All at different times, from different retailers, etc. My personal opinion has always been that they are located VERY close to a river that floods periodically, and that either water gets into the rick houses, or that the flood simply creates large amounts of mold in the air that subsequently affect some of the barrels. JMO

ErichPryde
12-31-2009, 13:09
thankfully, I haven't had a bad bottle. the interesting thing about these particular van winkle 15's is that they were all made within minutes of each other. of a case that a liquor store in Tucson got, I purchased one bottle, and Matt purchased two. his bottles were terrible and worse than terrible, mine was "good." I believe that mine also would have been bottled within minutes of the other two, because it came from the same case and it had a "hint" of the same profile that was so prominent in the sample Matt sent me. If they were all from the same batch, what would explain the extreme differences in quality? Perhaps some of them weren't very well sealed, and air got in? I'm not sure if that would result in the taste profile they had...

DeanSheen
12-31-2009, 13:50
^ cork taint explains all.

jeff
12-31-2009, 14:08
^ cork taint explains all.

I'm not so sure. Leslie and I are avid wine drinkers, and I would guess I've popped thousands of wine corks, and maybe only a few hundred bourbon corks, and I've only had 1 bottle of wine ruined by cork taint, and probably a dozen or so "musty" bottles of bourbon. Unscientifically, but logically speaking, seems like it should be the other way around.

BBQ+Bourbon
12-31-2009, 17:58
To be clear; I am not bashing anybody in this thread. I really wasn't sure something was wrong with this bottle and had nobody local to verify a problem, so I posted the thread.

From there I felt obligated to update the thread. So here is the update; Truman indicated that the refund will be sent on Monday.

spun_cookie
12-31-2009, 21:27
I'm not so sure. Leslie and I are avid wine drinkers, and I would guess I've popped thousands of wine corks, and maybe only a few hundred bourbon corks, and I've only had 1 bottle of wine ruined by cork taint, and probably a dozen or so "musty" bottles of bourbon. Unscientifically, but logically speaking, seems like it should be the other way around.

Jeff,
I think that more of the "non likables" dissolve due to the bourbon than wine... You get vapors from the bourbon that will do things to a cork that a wine would not due in 20 yrs...

jeff
01-01-2010, 12:52
Jeff,
I think that more of the "non likables" dissolve due to the bourbon than wine... You get vapors from the bourbon that will do things to a cork that a wine would not due in 20 yrs...

Maybe, but from what I understand of TCA, it pretty much ruins wine on contact. Regardless, I think BT has a unique problem with musty bottles. Not that it doesn't happen to other brands, just that I and others have reported many times over the years of getting a bad BT bottle. But, as has been demonstrated here, the folks at BT really take care of the customer and make right any problems. :toast:

spun_cookie
01-01-2010, 13:17
Maybe, but from what I understand of TCA, it pretty much ruins wine on contact. Regardless, I think BT has a unique problem with musty bottles. Not that it doesn't happen to other brands, just that I and others have reported many times over the years of getting a bad BT bottle. But, as has been demonstrated here, the folks at BT really take care of the customer and make right any problems. :toast:

So very true. :toast:

I agree with the TCA, but I think you can get "other" undesirables from the corks as well that give that rotten taste... as far as that musty taste, I believe your theory is correct...

docbible
01-01-2010, 22:36
I have had a cork taint blantons that went down the drain but when compaired to the high volume of BT/Van Winkle products I have consumed over the years, the odds are in my favor to have a great evening glass of bourbon. It can and will happen to any bottle, given time. tim

nysquire
01-03-2010, 04:46
I am probably one of the BIGGEST VanWinkle fans on this planet, for a reason.
They have a product like no others.... I had 2 bottles with cork taint a couple of years ago, and Julian had me send the bottles back to them and they replaced with NO questions asked. Now, that is customer service....
That earthy taste DOES NOT belong in bourbon. Especially PVW15yo.
Boy, Only if I could find one/some of those ORVW15yo squat bottles...
Only then would I believe there is a BOURBON GOD.....

nysquire
01-03-2010, 04:48
And yes, That Tattoo on my arm is Rip.... My tribute to many ORVW 15yo squats...