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View Full Version : Those &@#^ Wax Tops!



musher
10-27-2004, 09:32
Am I doing this wrong? Opening up those wax-dipped bottles, that is?

My first encounter was with my one and only bottle of Maker's Mark, which opened quite nicely for me. I've also had good luck with the several Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage that I've opened.

But my experience with Knob Creek parallels the experience that Chuck recounted in his book. I had to use a pliers to get it open, but that seemed OK.

Then, last night, I had the battle with a bottle of Elmer T. Lee (the newer style bottles). I had to use the pliers to pull the tape, and a knife to cut through the part of the wax that the tape didn't take care of. Part of the wax was very hard and brittle (too much plastic in it?), so now I have this ugly hacked-up wax top bottle where most of the cork shows through.

Am I supposed to run this thing under hot water first in order to soften the wax and get it open nicely?! I guess I expected the wax to be nice and soft like the MM and the EWSB bottles.

wrbriggs
10-27-2004, 09:48
Not sure what to say. My waxed bottle experiences include Maker's Mark, EWSB '93 and '94, and Knob Creek. The Knob Creek required the use of a paring knife and some pliers to open. The other three opened easily.

Is there a trick to opening Knob Creek?

cowdery
10-27-2004, 09:50
Sam Cecil once told me how difficult it was to get a wax formulation for Maker's Mark that would be not too soft but not too brittle. It sounded like the greatest challenge they faced and their solution seems to be the superior one. I've never had trouble opening a Maker's Mark bottle.

gr8erdane
10-27-2004, 13:24
I remember trying to open my Elmer T Lee and had a similar experience I almost broke out the chainsaw myself. My buddy Rick had the problem opening his Pappy 23. He couldn't get hold of the strip and when he used pliers it just ripped free. So he took out his trusty Case XXX pocket knife and whittled a strip straight up the side of the bottle and peeled it off in one piece leaving only the cork cap in the bottle. Effective but hardly as attractive sitting on his bar.

clayton
10-27-2004, 14:04
I needed a knife and pliers to open my recent bottle of Booker's.

The wax is a nice packaging touch, and I appreciate the way it looks on the shelf. Hassle or no, I much prefer the classy wax-and-cork top to the easy-but-ugly screw top.

dgonano
10-27-2004, 14:26
My bottle of Pure Kentucky XO was self-opening. Darn if I didn't notice that the wax around the neck had cracked and split. The cork had worked its way about a half inch up out of the lip. Strange things happen....

musher
10-27-2004, 14:29
Hassle or no, I much prefer the classy wax-and-cork top to the easy-but-ugly screw top.


I'm a foil-and-cork man myself, having been a Wild Turkey drinker for 20 years before discovering the rest of the bourbon world!

bobbyc
10-27-2004, 15:06
Case XXX



Mixing those metaphors again Dane? http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif

RedVette
10-27-2004, 19:34
I was going to create this exact same thread last week and for the exact same reason, Elmer T Lee. The wax is designed so that you cannot open this bottle. I know the metallic gold looks good and all but this is rediculous, it took me almost half an hour to get the fricken bottle open, and now it looks like hell. This cannot be what they intended, someone needs to fix this. Oh yeah, it was pretty good booze in the bottle once I got it open.

musher
10-27-2004, 21:05
I know the metallic gold looks good and all but this is rediculous, it took me almost half an hour to get the fricken bottle open, and now it looks like hell.


I ended up running what was left of the wax under hot water and peeling it all off.

The bottle looks a bit better now. It had better, since I have it on a shelf along with the '04 Antique Collection and a bottle of Rock Hill Farms!

gr8erdane
10-28-2004, 08:10
Naw Bobby, I just equate everything Rick does as XXX. He's my mentor in most of my bad habits and he'd tell you so. He's the one who introduced me to Booker's and also showed me this site. I am forever in his debt. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/bowdown.gif

Ken Weber
10-28-2004, 09:49
Mike,
You are absolutely right about the Elmer T. Lee bottle and Elmer has been riding me for months because of the difficulty in opening the bottle. While the wax looks nice, it is a bitch to open! We are currently looking at a foil capsule and a shrink band as possible alternatives.

I came into my office about 6 weeks ago and Elmer was sitting behind my desk waiting for me. He told me about a tasting he conducted at his country club (we have one here in Frankfort) and poured his namesake at the very end. He said he nearly suffered a heart attack struggling with the bottle.

In the interest of keeping Elmer around a bit longer, and making the bottle easier to open for everyone, we will be changing the wax in about 4 - 6 weeks.

Ken

bourbonmed
10-28-2004, 10:12
Thanks for the scoop Ken. I'll keep the soon to be discontinued wax bottle as a collectible and look forward to the easy opening foil top.

Best,
Omar

musher
10-28-2004, 10:31
In the interest of keeping Elmer around a bit longer, and making the bottle easier to open for everyone, we will be changing the wax in about 4 - 6 weeks.


Now, if I could only get it locally. At least I live in a state where I can still get it shipped in!

bluesbassdad
10-28-2004, 13:17
In the interest of keeping Elmer around a bit longer, and making the bottle easier to open for everyone, we will be changing the wax in about 4 - 6 weeks.



Do you get that, all you bourbon-collectors? Help Ken (and Mr. Lee) out by clearing the shelves of those hard-to-open bottles, which you will never open anyway, ASAP. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

angelshare
10-29-2004, 14:18
Unless I am missing something, I have always perceived the wax coating of ANY bourbon all gimmick and obstacle. I hate em all.

boone
10-30-2004, 18:57
Mike,

Complaints to the Chief's just might get results http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

I posted this one awhile back... opening waxed bottles (http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/showthreaded.php?Cat=&Number=10265&page=&view=&sb= 5&o=&vc=1)

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

Tallica
10-31-2004, 01:33
Sorry to against the general grain I like the wax seal, Opened up a Knob Creek Sat night had no trouble at all with the tear tab, got the whole lot off with little effort.

Another reaon I like the wax seal,all those bottles of Pappy 23 & Hirsch I am saving for when I cannot afford Bourbon in my retirement, well Im hoping they will still have 750 mls in them

pete_d
10-31-2004, 01:43
My Evan Williams SB 93 was an absolute nightmare to get open. Required pliers, Stanley Knife, small power tools and a whole lot of grunting. Basically it sounded like an episode of "Home Improvement".

dgonano
10-31-2004, 07:08
Another reaon I like the wax seal,all those bottles of Pappy 23 & Hirsch I am saving for when I cannot afford Bourbon in my retirement, well Im hoping they will still have 750 mls in them



Well I find some wax top bottles to leak if turned on their side, so air must be getting through the seal. This occurs frequently when wax tops are shipped to me.

musher
11-20-2004, 10:56
In the interest of keeping Elmer around a bit longer, and making the bottle easier to open for everyone, we will be changing the wax in about 4 - 6 weeks.

Ken


I was hoping you'd all wise up and go to a shrink-foil top like you've got on the Antique Collection and the regular Buffalo Trace. But I guess not, because I was just looking at the Bottling Line distillery cam on the web site, and they're still dipping the wax tops on these bottles.

I hope (for Elmer's sake) that you've reformulated that wax!

Ken Weber
11-22-2004, 09:23
The foil capsule was our #1 choice, but the shortness of the neck precludes us from doing that. It seems the former roller can crease the foil but the finishing roller does not have enough room to seal the foil correctly. When the engineer told me this, I just looked at him and said to find a roller that will do the job. He informed me that my uneducated mind could not conceive the scope of the problem. After 5 minutes I threw up my hands and walked away. &^%! engineers!!!!!!!!!

Ken

Gillman
11-22-2004, 18:46
Ken, I'd like to hear what you think of the lawyers, but be careful since yours truly, Chuck Cowdery, Chuck King, and others amongst us are of the "fraternity" (and sorority, "as applicable.") http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Gary Gillman, Toronto

doubleblank
11-22-2004, 21:00
Engineer's can be very anal retentive....hey, wait.....I've got an engineering degree. Ken....hand him a bottle of ETL and ask him to open it without pliers or other tools. He'll probably end up designing a tool to attach as a freebie to make opening it a snap.....rather than solve the foil sealing problem.

Randy

bluesbassdad
11-23-2004, 08:45
Ken,

Is there a reason -- engineering, marketing, or other -- not to emulate the closure that's used on Weller Centennial? Aren't the bottles identical?

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

Ken Weber
11-25-2004, 11:48
Gary, my boss is a lawyer! Steve heads up our international division, in addition to serving as corporate counsel. In the old days he had long hair and was a glass blower. His father was in the spirits business for nearly 50 years. So, all in all, lawyers aren't as bad as the rap they usually get!

I must say that the engineer in question, Byron, is one of my favorite people. He comes from Louisiana and grew up on the island that is famous for producing Tabasco Sauce. Byron even told me that used bourbon barrels are used to age the sauce. No wonder I like it so much!!

Ken

Ken Weber
11-25-2004, 11:51
Very astute! I just received approval yesterday to use a gold shrink seal similar to the one used on Weller Centennial. As soon as the shrink seals arrive, the gold wax will be gone.

If anyone has a bottle of Elmer T. Lee, bring it by next year during the Bourbon Festival and I will arrange a bottle signing with Elmer.

ken

Gillman
11-25-2004, 13:05
Thanks, Ken, I think it is true lawyers have been involved in many facets of the spirits business (not just as consumers!), e.g., Chuck told me Tom Bulleit is a lawyer too.

Regarding Tabasco Sauce, no surprise it is aged in bourbon barrels since .. one sauce helps another. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Gary

squire
11-25-2004, 18:59
Good choice Ken and speaking as a well aged Tabasco using Attorney I am relieved to hear I might not fall victim to a heart attack and wind up prostrate on the kitchen floor due to wrassling with one of those wax wraps. Can't be without Elmer T.

Regards,
Squire

jace33
11-25-2004, 20:06
Here here I must agree the wax should stay , I'm very lucky
I had no problems with my bottles. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/drink.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/soapbox.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/usflag.gif