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Empty Glass
01-17-2007, 20:49
I don't want to sound like a snob but I don't want my bourbon to have a screw cap. I know I may be passing on some fine spirts but I'll only buy a bottle if I see a cork or sense that a cork does exist under a thick layer of wax. I was only fooled once by MM as I pulled and pulled on that red cap. I don't care if its cheaper, keeps the bourbon longer, or any other reason for the change and I'm not refering to larger bottles of JB,EW etc.,there's just something special about breaking the wax seal and popping a cork on a new bottle. It just adds somthing to the ambiance of a nightly ritual. I see a slow transition to a foil over wax seal and I hope that the bottlers don't think that we would like an easy opening plastic cap underneath the bronze horse on a bottle of Blantons. By my second pour I don't care if there might be a cork chip floating in my liquid gold and by the third I wouldn't notice a dirty sock floating near the edge. Does anyone else feel the same way I do or should I seek therapy?

TNbourbon
01-17-2007, 20:57
...I know I may be passing on some fine spirits but I'll only buy a bottle if I see a cork...

Then stop it -- really!

ILLfarmboy
01-17-2007, 21:06
I prefer cork over screw caps to. But I sometimes worry about the long term storage of some of my bottles. Your story about pulling on the MM cap reminded me of a similar situation. When ordering WT 101 several times I've gotten the first pour from a fresh bottle where the bar tender, usually a woman, I'm not knocking women here (I married one), twisted and twisted the cap before realizing it was a cork closure.:lol:

barturtle
01-17-2007, 21:07
It's all about what's in the bottle for me. I don't care what you use to seal my bottle, as long as it stays that way, doesn't ever hurt my whiskey and lasts for as long as I feel like keeping the bottle, if the only way you can achieve that goal is with a screw cap, then I'll be fine with that.

That being said, yes the way a corked bottle opens feels nice, sounds nice, looks nice. How about a synthetic cork, they use them for wines, at least one bottle I know of has a nice plastic stopper over glass that works great.

I also have a certain fondness for the old metal screw caps as well, but can't think of any domestic whiskies that still use this, although many imports still do (with a nice plastic liner).

Sweetmeats
01-17-2007, 21:10
I love a cork the best too but I would have to give up Weller 12 if I stayed away from caps. That is something I cannot do.

gothbat
01-17-2007, 21:48
I really prefer the cork myself but I don’t let it stop me from picking up something with a screw off cap. We all know that the screw on cap is technically better; the better cap is a fair trade off for the aesthetically pleasing cork imo. I wish more bottles that use the cork would not cover the cork with a sleeve around the neck and just use a strip like Woodford Reserve and a few other brands do.

Virus_Of_Life
01-17-2007, 22:11
I used to feel the same way, then I discovered this page... then I tasted Old Rip Van Winkle 15 year... And it dawned on me the meaning of life was to taste every bourbon (and Rye) whiskey available regardless of method the bottle was capped!

You'll get over it, trust me...

HighTower
01-18-2007, 02:13
I may be wrong here but on the Maker's Mark...I'm sure they tried corks but because of the high temperature of the wax the bottles are dipped in, it was causing them to pop out, forcing them to use a screw cap.
I too like the feel of a cork, and prefer cork closure, but I wont turn my back on a bourbon with a screw cap (unless it's SLATE bourbon:puke:)
I've just discovered that SLATE crap has "smooth blended bourbon whiskey" on the label. The only other "blended" bourbon I've seen is Real McCoy, and that is 51% bourbon and 49% GNS, maybe that is which this stuff is so undrinkable. Oh, and it had one of those cool metal screw caps. Bah!

Scott

Edward_call_me_Ed
01-18-2007, 05:35
I am firmly in the screw cap camp here. I don't like the aluminum screw caps that they use on scotch, but the steel ones are good. Plastic screw caps are great.

I am not immune to the aesthetic appeal of corks. The sound and the feel are wonderful and speak of elegance. But if I had a choice of two bottles of the same bourbon, one corked and one with a screw cap, I would choose the screw cap with out even thinking about it.

Your mention of Blanton's does give me pause. I wouldn't like the Blanton's Horse on a screw cap.

I'm going to tell a story on myself. When I recork a bottle I usually seat the cork lightly in the neck of the bottle and then strike it with the heel of my hand to drive it into the bottle. Don't try this with a bottle of Blanton's. I can tell you that it hurts. I have done it several times...

Ed

Str8RYE
01-18-2007, 09:00
You really discriminate against trying a whiskey because of the packaging????? Really??? :skep:

I once heard a saying that really summed this type of reasoning up: NEVER JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER.

Empty Glass
01-18-2007, 10:44
You really discriminate against trying a whiskey because of the packaging????? Really??? :skep:

I once heard a saying that really summed this type of reasoning up: NEVER JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER.

Good one! Thanks for the responses. I don't think that its outright discrimination but more a protest against unnecessary change and an appreciation for tradition. And I do want that ORVW107 I saw last week. I might even go get it now. The wine industry sells millions of bottles with a screw caps but there would be a lynch mob assembled if they made a move to putting a screw cap on a $200 bottle of Chardonnay and I don't think that they would take that chance and I hope that twist cap Pappy shooters aren't on the horizon...what am I saying that would be great! Hey that's my idea Julian! Now I'm late for my shrink.

BobA
01-18-2007, 10:50
I much prefer to see a screw cap on a bottle I'm thinking of buying. If it's cork, I figure they've decided to favor marketing on that point, I'm paying extra that marketing detail, and what else are they trying to pull? OK, that's maybe too harsh, but I've found many wonderful middle-price pours, and enough high priced ones I don't really care for. I really try to divorce my taste experience from the marketers' desired impact on me, and I end up thinking of cork as just useless fluff. Plus, the more cork that goes into bottles, the less there is for fly rod grips, where it really matters.

Bob

fog
01-18-2007, 13:18
I prefer screw caps. Perhaps I have had bad luck with corks; about half of the corked bottles which I have purchased have been problematic for me.

Recently, the cork on my 1/4 full bottle of Bufallo Trace failed, so I emptied the contents into a 1/5 full bottle of WL Weller Special Reserve. I did not like the mix. To prevent oxidation, I latter emptied this into an almost empty 200 mL bottle of Old Fitzgerald.

Last week, the cork on my El Tesero platinum broke. There were about 200 mL left, so I emptied the 200 mL bottle of mixed bourbon into a bottle of Knob Creek, which had about 200 mL left, and transfered the tequila into the 200 mL bottle (after cleaning it).

I am happy now; I like the Knob Creek/Weller/Buffalo Trace/Old Fitzgerald blend better than the earlier two blends.


Good one! Thanks for the responses. I don't think that its outright discrimination but more a protest against unnecessary change and an appreciation for tradition.

I know that the use of corks is an established tradition for wine, but is it for whiskey?

For bourbon, during which periods was the use of corks ubuiquitous?

jbutler
01-18-2007, 13:31
I don't want to sound like a snob but I don't want my bourbon to have a screw cap. I know I may be passing on some fine spirts but I'll only buy a bottle if I see a cork or sense that a cork does exist under a thick layer of wax. I was only fooled once by MM as I pulled and pulled on that red cap. I don't care if its cheaper, keeps the bourbon longer, or any other reason for the change and I'm not refering to larger bottles of JB,EW etc.,there's just something special about breaking the wax seal and popping a cork on a new bottle. It just adds somthing to the ambiance of a nightly ritual. I see a slow transition to a foil over wax seal and I hope that the bottlers don't think that we would like an easy opening plastic cap underneath the bronze horse on a bottle of Blantons. By my second pour I don't care if there might be a cork chip floating in my liquid gold and by the third I wouldn't notice a dirty sock floating near the edge. Does anyone else feel the same way I do or should I seek therapy?

OK, I don't want to stray too far off topic here, but how do you feel about synthetic corks? The introduction of synthetic cork rocked the boat quite a bit in the wine enthusiast crowd, but considering that whiskey coming into contact with the cork is an undesirable thing, then synthetic cork should be a superior closure.

Many wine aficionados find synthetic corks offensive in the extreme, but wine is supposed to come in contact with the stopper when it's cellared; whiskey ain't. Of course I'm not too familiar with the physical properties of synthetic corking material. I don't think it is as susceptible to degradation by drying as real cork however.

BourbonJoe
01-18-2007, 13:39
I don't think I would have a problem with synthetic corks if it was assured that they did not affect the whiskey. Thinking about it, I would probably prefer them over real cork.
Joe :usflag:

Empty Glass
01-18-2007, 16:56
OK, I don't want to stray too far off topic here, but how do you feel about synthetic corks? The introduction of synthetic cork rocked the boat quite a bit in the wine enthusiast crowd, but considering that whiskey coming into contact with the cork is an undesirable thing, then synthetic cork should be a superior closure.

Many wine aficionados find synthetic corks offensive in the extreme, but wine is supposed to come in contact with the stopper when it's cellared; whiskey ain't. Of course I'm not too familiar with the physical properties of synthetic corking material. I don't think it is as susceptible to degradation by drying as real cork however.


Great perspective. I would say that I'm more against the appearance of a threaded bottle top and plastic screw cap than the material that a cork (plug) is made of especially if it were superior in keeping the bourbon intact. I can't recall the brand but I just saw an attractive bottle of bourbon with a glass stopper like a decanter. After reviewing a similar thread at SB from 2004 I can see that very little has changed in the boubon bottle plugging industry and that similar positions were taken, traditional cork vs deterioration problems. I'm going to side with Chuck that you should drink your bourbon before it starts to spoil and definetly before the cork disintegrates. What would you think of an exagerated tapped interior bottle neck and a large threaded oak stopper made from over the hill casks? All rights reserved.

jburlowski
01-18-2007, 17:20
...the way a corked bottle opens feels nice, sounds nice, looks nice.

This sums up my opinion. All things being equal, I prefer a cork over a screw top. Purely for esthetic / tactile reasons. Would it dictate my purchasing? No, but particularly for high-end bourbons, give me a cork any time!

Gillman
01-18-2007, 17:20
It's an interesting technological question. I haven't found a cork substitute that has the resilience and closing qualities of cork. In that new XR Crown Royal, they use a synthetic cork and mine at any rate does not fit the bottle well. Every time I open the bottle it seems a struggle to take out the cork and sometimes droplets of whisky fly out. The theory is good (no deterioration, minimal if any adverse contact with the whisky) but it may take time for technology to achieve the results.

As between a threaded closure and cork I have no preference, well, the corks (some of them) have a pleasing aesthetic look and feel. I like the ones that fit Buffalo Trace (that brand) and WT 80 and 101 bottles. Big corks seem a little clumsy and more liable to cracking and breaking. Still, I don't store most bottles for long, so...

Gary

FlashPuppy
01-18-2007, 18:32
I would be fine with a synthetic cork. The thing I like about a cork is the "pop". As long as I have that, I am a happy camper.

wskybnt
01-18-2007, 19:29
I like the cork tops better also. But I am not giving up Old Rip Van Winkle, Weller Antique, or OC 12, just because they screw on....although the screw caps seem kind of chinsy or 80's to me...

cowdery
01-18-2007, 20:01
I'm going to tell a story on myself. When I recork a bottle I usually seat the cork lightly in the neck of the bottle and then strike it with the heel of my hand to drive it into the bottle. Don't try this with a bottle of Blanton's. I can tell you that it hurts. I have done it several times...



That is too funny. I can just see it.

oldironstomach
01-18-2007, 21:24
OK, I don't want to stray too far off topic here, but how do you feel about synthetic corks? The introduction of synthetic cork rocked the boat quite a bit in the wine enthusiast crowd, but considering that whiskey coming into contact with the cork is an undesirable thing, then synthetic cork should be a superior closure.
The synthetic corks currently available are substantially more porous to oxygen than good-quality natural corks. This is offset by the fact that whiskey bottle corks are topped with a plastic or wood knob that greatly reduces air movement through the cork, especially if the bottle is stored at a constant temperature. Nevertheless, I think you'll find that Anchor Distilling already uses synthetic corks on their Old Potrero line...at least on the Hotaling's.

HighTower
01-18-2007, 23:58
Good one! Thanks for the responses. I don't think that its outright discrimination but more a protest against unnecessary change and an appreciation for tradition. And I do want that ORVW107 I saw last week. I might even go get it now. The wine industry sells millions of bottles with a screw caps but there would be a lynch mob assembled if they made a move to putting a screw cap on a $200 bottle of Chardonnay and I don't think that they would take that chance and I hope that twist cap Pappy shooters aren't on the horizon...what am I saying that would be great! Hey that's my idea Julian! Now I'm late for my shrink.

In Australia, we have seen many wine makers starting to replace the cork with the 'stelvin closure', or screw cap. Whites more so than reds, but the reds are starting to catch up. Wolf Blass have stepped up and put a screw cap on their $180 Platinum range! They seem to have the research that less bottles of wine are being oxidised - no chance of a bad cork - but it does also impact the ageing on reds. Say, for example, a wine with a cork is at it's peak in 10 years, it may take 12 years for the same wine with a screw cap to be at it's peak.

Scott

HighTower
01-19-2007, 00:04
It's an interesting technological question. I haven't found a cork substitute that has the resilience and closing qualities of cork. In that new XR Crown Royal, they use a synthetic cork and mine at any rate does not fit the bottle well. Every time I open the bottle it seems a struggle to take out the cork and sometimes droplets of whisky fly out. The theory is good (no deterioration, minimal if any adverse contact with the whisky) but it may take time for technology to achieve the results.

Gary

Gary,

I noticed this last night. I opened my bottle of XR to smell it (that smell is holy!), and even though the bottle has been sitting there since I moved 2 months ago, I removed the cork without moving the bottle, and sure enough there was whisky on the cork. I also find it is not a great fit.
Also what's with the whole 'hole in the cork so the liquid can flow into the stopper' thing?? Not just on the XR, but a couple of the Jack decanters have the same thing (Maxwell house & 1904 Centennial).

Scott

Edward_call_me_Ed
01-19-2007, 03:20
I think I wrote about this last time the topic came up, but here it is again.

Nikka Whisky (Japanese) has several different corks that address the problems of cork coming in contact with whiskey. I have several bottles that have a cork with a wooden top. The cork is covered with a layer of plastic. These bottles open with a satisfying pop. However, the squeak of the cork against the glass is missing. They are a little harder to open though. I haven't splashed any whiskey around, but then I have always been extra careful when opening one of these. And that takes alot of the fun out of opening a bottle.

One Nikka bottle I have is nearly perfect. It has a natural cork, but the bottom of the cork is covered with a very thin layer of plastic. Think saran wrap. The cork touches the glass, but not the whiskey. It feels just like opening a bottle with a normal cork, the squeak, the pop, everything. But the Whiskey never touches it.

Ed

tgriff
02-17-2007, 13:47
i find the sound and feel of a cork satisfying, but it certainly is not the criteria for whether i make a bourbon purchase or not.

fogfrog
02-17-2007, 14:14
as I was thinking about it, a cork is cool and makes a nice sound, but I have a bottle of Old Charter 12 year old and it has a screw top. I love this stuff. I just found it! But you know, there are other more expensive bourbons that have corks and fancier bottles I like less like: Elmer T. Lee which I don't really like. So, I don't think its important how they package it. But heck, maybe I could repackage it.

fogfrog
02-17-2007, 14:18
In AA they say 'put the plug in the jug'. I say.... 'screw it'.

TnSquire
02-20-2007, 07:49
Contrary to what everyone is saying here....there are no good bourbons with screw caps...really.......don't go try to find them.....really.

Seriously, I could care less. I have owned and tasted some exceptional bottles that have screw caps and have tasted some less than exceptional bottles with corks. Buy it for what is in it not for the packaging (or label).

BrbnBorderline
02-21-2007, 15:12
Two of my favorites have screw caps - Eagle Rare 101, and Weller Antique. Just think, if I was a cork snob, I never would have had the pleasure of sipping these fine whiskeys. That would be a shame, especially since the ER 101 has been cancelled.

HighTower
02-22-2007, 03:57
I have the opportunity to purchase a Woodford Reserve, Bakers (old bottle) and a Basil Hayden where the tops have come away from the cork, leaving just the cork in the necks of the bottles. I will inspect them before I buy them, what should I look out for? I am wondering why an outlet has 3 different bottles with this problem to begin with. They are being offered at a very good price.
Any thoughts??

Scott

Edward_call_me_Ed
02-22-2007, 07:51
I have the opportunity to purchase a Woodford Reserve, Bakers (old bottle) and a Basil Hayden where the tops have come away from the cork, leaving just the cork in the necks of the bottles. I will inspect them before I buy them, what should I look out for? I am wondering why an outlet has 3 different bottles with this problem to begin with. They are being offered at a very good price.
Any thoughts??

Scott

Hmm. Look. Sniff. Buy one open and taste. Then decide whether you want the other bottles or not.

My guess is that there is only a slightly higher chance of the bottles being corked than would otherwise be the case, but it is only a guess.

Ed

Ubertaster
02-22-2007, 13:54
I prefer a cork just as long as as it is easy to remove and also seals well. Sometimes this is hard to do both. If it has a screw cap doesn't mean it has bad bourbon in it. There are many fine bourbons and ryes that have screw caps. I don't mind a screw cap at all. It's whats inside that matters.

bj

jburlowski
02-22-2007, 16:49
All things being equal, I prefer a cork... for the cachet and all. But I wouldn't (and don't) make my purchase /drinking decisions based on that.

miller542
02-22-2007, 19:42
It's whats inside that matters.

bj

While I agree, I sometimes actually prefer a screw-off cap. That way I don't have to worry about it breaking off, tainting the beverage, etc. Corks don't steer me away from good bourbon, but there's just less worry with a cap.

BourbonBalls
02-23-2007, 07:59
As all have said here...its whats inside that counts. Why pass up something good just because of its package...

Could be said of a good woman too.

I find a very GOOD reason to like the screw-ons:

You can store them in a wine rack on their sides. Don't have to store those bottles standing up!

CrispyCritter
02-23-2007, 19:39
Also, let's not forget that the late, lamented ORVW 15 came in... a screw-top bottle! I'll go with the general consensus - corks have the snob factor, but they really have no bearing on the quality of the product in the bottle.

TNbourbon
02-23-2007, 19:56
I often don't notice, the first time I buy a label, what kind of closure a bottle has till I get it home.

HighTower
02-24-2007, 02:09
Hmm. Look. Sniff. Buy one open and taste. Then decide whether you want the other bottles or not.

My guess is that there is only a slightly higher chance of the bottles being corked than would otherwise be the case, but it is only a guess.

Ed
Thanks Ed, I ended up getting all 3. Turns out it wasn't old label Bakers, these were all current bottles. During a revamp of the store, the top shelf was leaned on and 8 bottles took a dive from the top shelf. There was a broken BH, and the 3 i got lost their caps. Big deal. The other 4 survived. Not bad for a 7 foot fall!!

Scott

smokinjoe
02-24-2007, 06:37
Whether or not a bottle has a cork or screw cap, does not affect my opinion of a bourbon in the least. I have favorites, that I purchase repeatedly, that have either of the closures. I must say, though, that I prefer cork for it's cache, and that beautiful Thummpp sound it makes while opening. What does that say about the nature of my existence, when a highlight of my day is the opening of a corked whiskey bottle? :o But, on the other hand, I do prefer screw caps when having to pack bottles in my luggage for a flight home from a trip. On my most recent trip, I had to pass on 3 slope-shouldered OCPR 13's that were literally begging me to take them home, but I was too concerned about leakage. :(

Cheers!

JOE

Catahoula
03-01-2007, 08:51
Corks are on spirits products because the consumer has a perception that cork = quality. That is a poor way to judge a product. Corks are archaic 19th century forms of sealing bottles and they are not as effective as more modern methods.

BT experimented extensively with synthetic corks a couple of years ago and found none back then that they thought were satisfactory. With lower proof wines the synthetics seem to work just fine but not so with higher proof alcohols. The synthetic tends to taint the product as the alcohol breaks down the plastics.

Natural cork, no matter how good it is, and BT uses the best available from Portugal, will have some level of failure, usually a taint from natural molds in the cork, even though they are treated to get rid of this. Also corks will dry out and stick to the bottle if not kept wet. Eventually a cork will break in the bottle if stored a long while.

The wine industry would dearly love to get rid of corks because it would reduce considerable losses they experience from cork taint.

No doubt about it; a screw top is best for your wines and your bourbons in the long run. But every distiller and vintner is afraid of breaking the "expectations" of consumers. Some wineries are getting braver on this but we have a long way to go before corks are gone.

So, if your bourbon has a cork, drink up before it dries out. Now, that isn't such a bad solution, is it?

Catahoula

Catahoula
03-01-2007, 08:53
How many of you store your corked whiskey on the side like wine?

Catahoula

luv2hunt
03-01-2007, 09:04
None....several members have reported "re-wetting" the cork occasionally.

Dawn

nor02lei
03-01-2007, 10:53
No doubt about it; a screw top is best for your wines and your bourbons in the long run.

Catahoula

I do agree with that statement 100%.

Leif

CrispyCritter
03-01-2007, 20:14
My now-gone bottle of Old Potrero had a synthetic cork, and I didn't notice any off-notes in the whiskey inside. Also, the Compass Box Asyla bottles I've had also had synthetic corks, and were just fine. The one in the Old Potrero bottle was roughly the color of natural cork, while Compass Box's stopper was black.

I'd rather have a screw top, though - the Old Potrero was exceptionally difficult to open the first time around. I say this even though there's no substitute for the quiet *pop* of a cork being pulled.

Catahoula
03-02-2007, 07:34
My now-gone bottle of Old Potrero had a synthetic cork, and I didn't notice any off-notes in the whiskey inside. Also, the Compass Box Asyla bottles I've had also had synthetic corks, and were just fine. The one in the Old Potrero bottle was roughly the color of natural cork, while Compass Box's stopper was black.

I'd rather have a screw top, though - the Old Potrero was exceptionally difficult to open the first time around. I say this even though there's no substitute for the quiet *pop* of a cork being pulled.

I don't know all the details but the BT testing program was quite rigorous. They used worse case scenarios that probably would not be considered common storage practices. I do know BT has a very high standards they hold to, and at that time, the available synthetic corks did not meet those standards.

I was told by a packaging supplier another distiller did similar synthetic cork experiments about the same time and came to the same conclusions.

Technology is changing all the time, and a viable substitute for natural cork may eventually come along that BT will find acceptable.

Catahoula

Catahoula
03-14-2007, 14:48
I get to eat my words. I just found out from a supplier that BT does use a synthetic cork on Rain Vodka and has for about a year. That was the first I heard of it. I am trying to get details and samples sent to me now. When I know a little more I will post.

I do know Rain was the spirit they were most interested in using a synthetic cork on because of cork "stuff" floating in the product. Cork dust or very fine wax particles from the coating on the cork are there to some degree in all corked products, but the clear area of the Rain bottle really emphasized them - like a magnifying glass! In spite of all kinds of experiments, including dipping each cork in Rain vodka to "wash" it before hand insertion, it remained an annoying problem and a concern. Evidently they found a satisfactory synthetic solution.

I do not expect, however, you will see synthetic cork on any of the BT bourbons because of the authenticity issue, plus it is not nearly the problem as it was in the Rain package.

Catahoula