Is bad cork in the stopper a common problem in bourbon or other whiskey? I opened a bottle of 12 yr Wild Turkey this past weekend and the cork in the stopper crumbled as I tried to remove it. I know this can be a problem in wine and result in a spoiled product, but I couldn't detect any deterioration in the bourbon quality (other than bits of cork floating around).
Re: Bad Cork?
In fact, I, too, have a bottle of Wild Turkey 12yo on the bar right now which cork crumbled when I opened it -- but it was bottled in 1985. So, not really that surprising. Whiskey/bourbon is displayed and stored -- both in stores and at home -- upright. Thus, in the case of my bottle, it had 20 years to dry out.
I try to remember to leave it on its side for 5-10 minutes before opening an old corked bottle to re-wet and re-expand the cork, but sometimes I forget, and sometimes it doesn't do any good anyway.
And, though I've been fortunate to never have this happen to me, I've heard tales of cork shrinkage so bad that air seeps around the edges, causing the bottom of the cork to become musty and even, rarely, affecting the whiskey.
Re: Bad Cork?
Any bottle of 12yo found in the US has got to be years old, so it isn't surprising that the cork fails, since the corks used for whiskey aren't the highest quality to begin with.