View Full Version : Got Cork?

01-15-2004, 05:46

01-15-2004, 09:52
I find the reassuring "Pop" of a cork part of my Bourbonic enjoyment. The glug, glug as bourbon comes through the neck of the bottle. The tinkling of an ice cube. Its all part of the experience.

01-15-2004, 13:43
When you want a fine wine, do you look for a screw off top? To me, way back in the back of my mind (behind all the cobwebs and useless trivia) cork says QUALITY. And for all of you who have problems with corks drying out and requiring replacement, last night I was on a mission to Bed Bath and Beyond for bar accessories and lo and behold there were bags of six replacement corks hanging on an end display. So rather than fish around for an old cork you've saved that may meet the same crumbling fate, there is a source for replacements.

01-15-2004, 14:08
I voted pro-cork. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif

Screwtops work fine, but as Dane has already touched on, I associate corked bottles with higher-end stuff. In fact, the only bourbon I drink regularly that DOESN'T have a cork is AAA 10yo. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif

01-15-2004, 15:26
A high end bourbon that i drink that has a screw top is four roses super premium... also the 15year van winkle... (price may not be high end, but the taste certainly is)... I'm suprised there are no bourbons with synthetic corks... I have popped quite a few bottles of wine with those 'fake' corks... some in the $10 range, but some in the $20 range as well, so it's not just a cheapness thing... you get the 'feel' and impression of quality of a cork, yet the synthetic cork will not rot on you or impart tastes upon the product...


01-15-2004, 15:49
While cork = perceived higher quality, it's worth pointing out that there is a definite movement in the wine industry towards synthetic corks. What's more, some higher end wine merchants are currently experimenting with screwtops for premium wines, in order to reduce spoilage (due to tainted corks). So... years from now... perhaps the good ol' screwcap will not be the underling that it is now.

I voted for cork. I especially like the customization that a bottler can offer: a distinctive wooden top, or embossed messages. Yes, it adds to the cost of bottling, but it also adds to the experience! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif

01-15-2004, 15:55
Corks definitely have the psychological edge. They do impart a feeling of quality, perhaps antiquity, even; it somehow feels more authentic to UNPLUG the bottle, and PLUG it back up again, than it does to screw on a plastic cap from the MACHINE WORLD.

Having said that, however, I have noticed that I get a cleaner pour from bottles that have a plastic, screw-on cap. When I pour from corked bottles, I always get a drip running down the side of the bottle, but something about the lip of the screw-on variety prevents that.

Has anyone else experienced this? Am I the only one?

01-15-2004, 16:37
I can't decide how to vote. On one hand, I like corks as long as they are functional. But on the other hand, I have had several corks break off in the necks of their bottles. When that happens, it can be a major pain to get the bottom half of the cork out without it crumbling into the precious liquor. I hate it when that happens.


01-15-2004, 16:55
I keep a little box of corks from the 'dead soldiers', partly because of some fine memories they went with, and partly because the corks come in handy from time to time when an in-use cork bites the dust (I, too, HATE when that happens, Tim!). The bottle corks are not tapered, so getting the right fit means trying a couple, but then it's perfect. Standard corks, like the drawerful in my lab, are tapered and I just could not bring myself to use one, even a new one, unless my box of used bottle corks was unavailable. They would be good with a jug, though.

I have an old "cork roller" in my lab. No need for it these days, since corks are not much used in chemistry labs, but it is an interesting device. It is hard to describe, but its purpose, I'm told, was to soften and "break in" a cork, so it would be easier to use, bore, etc.

Are the Bed Bath and Beyond corks tapered? Cheers, Ed

01-15-2004, 18:05
it can be a major pain to get the bottom half of the cork out without it crumbling into the precious liquor.

No doubt! And it seems no matter how much effort I put in, there's always some lingering 'floaty' that remains just to tick me off! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/stickpoke.gif

I had one so bad I finally just had to push it into the bottle and do a whole bottle transfer. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/hot.gif

01-15-2004, 18:23
Ed, looked to me to be straight corks with plastic caps but I didn't inspect them too closely. I don't have anything old enough to need them yet. YET

01-15-2004, 19:54
Some more opinions can be found in this old thread. (http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/showthreaded.php?Cat=&Number=936&page=&view=&sb=5& o=) I like corks.

01-17-2004, 04:38
Since I started this poll, it seems only fair that I put in my 2 cents...When I first began to buy bourbon with corks, I enjoyed the "pop" that a pulled cork can give you. I also associated a cork with quality. I still do. But as a general rule I must say that corks are earned by only the best of bourbons. Corks in the Antique collection is a natural, with the "Derby Day" bourbon Blanton's a must...my favorite example is with Elijah Craig...the wide mouth and cork is probably the best example we have. But in the end, the practical and utterly functional screw top proves why whiskey makers moved beyond the cork. We are a conservative and nostalgic bunch who want to know what the taste and experience of past bourbons were like so I, like you, enjoy the pull of a cork on the best...but in the end I like the 20th century solution over the 19th century solution....now if they ever go to pop tops I will definately be annoyed...

01-17-2004, 08:44
My Aunt Jo, met a woman from Portugal, who was touring the Getz Museum, several years ago. She asked lots of questions about the corks, in the bottles, on display. One question, led to another and Aunt Jo was stumped for indepth information about corks.

Her visitor, turned out to be from a company that makes corks. They donated a really nice display of corks and a video about how they are made.

Me, Bobby and Amelia watched this video on day while visiting the Getz. I had no idea that corks were "harvested" from tree's. It's actually skinned bark.

I recommend, that if you tour the Getz, watch this video along with Chuck's video, Made and Bottled in Kentucky.

http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif Bettye Jo http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

01-17-2004, 10:35
Screwtop doesn't always mean "plonk" anymore. Aussies and New Zealanders especially have been involved with extensive study on long term effects of natural cork, synthetic cork, and screwtops on wines. Natural cork is losing out in those studies. The cork is a relic and associated with romance of opening bottles, but with taint and breakage often a problem, I'm all for the Stelvin closures or synthetic corks. Ages ago people closed up amphoras and other containers with rags or whatever they could think of. Imagine the talk that must have ensued when someone came up with this cork notion? "Give up my rags? You have to be kidding me?" http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif Many wineries have moved to screw tops even on their high end bottlings. Randall Graham of Bonny Doon held a big hoopla here in NYC a while back where he took corks in a casket through Grand Central as a public way of saying, "Time to move on, folks." I have a section in my store just for quality screw top bottles to assist folks to begin thinking about it more positively.

01-18-2004, 20:43
I like corks because:

They sound cool

Opening a corked bottle makes me feel like I'm in a western

EC12YO has one

The number one reason, if a cork goes bad I have to drink all the bourbon in the bottle.

01-18-2004, 22:15
Definitely corks. Whether wine, beer, vodka, rum, or whiskey, I really like the cork. It just adds to the whole experience. Save the screwtops for milk and soda. On liquor I feel it adds a touch of class. On Wine, I demand it. I drink wine rarely, and always in the presence of company deserving of special treatment (females, preferably atractive http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif), and opening a corked bottle is just another part of the experience. Beer bottles with corks are actually fairly common on Belgian beer if you buy the 750ml bottles. It's topped off like a champagne bottle, with the little wire cage you untwist. Since those beers are large, strong, and expensive, they're special occasion beers for me, and firing off the cork sure is a lot of fun.


01-19-2004, 11:46
I recommend, that if you tour the Getz, watch this video along with Chuck's video, Made and Bottled in Kentucky.

better yet, BUY Chuck's video to show your friends AND visit the Getz and ask to see the cork video http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

01-19-2004, 18:42
I did not vote. I enjoy the tradition of cork, but I also know it is inferior. Check out:

Deathofthecork.com (http://www.deathofthecork.com)

01-19-2004, 23:59
Whichever method of sealing wine bottles becomes mainstream in the future, I'll always seek out bottles sealed with corks. Synthetic corks are ok. Screwtops on wine would just ruin the experience for me.

01-20-2004, 16:26
Re: wine -- I'm withholding judgment on screw tops until some high-quality wines have been aged with them (and that's now happening). But as for corks, give me the synthetic ones -- about 3%-5% of real-corked bottles are tainted by TCA contamination. That's one out of every 20-30 bottles. I just hate it when that happens! Glad I don't have to worry about it with bourbon.

02-27-2004, 14:47
While reading a story written by Cigar Afficionado's spirits writer regarding Booker Noe's recent passing, the writer refers to the first time he met Mr. Noe. He recalls asking him why they decided to cork finish Booker's versus using the screw top. Mr. Noe's reply..."because the marketing folks say its worth $5." That about sums it up for me too ..... it adds only to the experience and to the presentation and to the price.

Randy B.

02-27-2004, 18:55
It also points out my favorite thing about Booker. Try as they might (and they tried mightily), the marketing and PR people couldn't control him. We lost a truth-teller when we lost him and those are hard to replace.