Everyone in a while you will see “this bottle is not as good as others have said it is, must be a bad bottle” or “this does not taste like I thought it would, the bottle must be bad”
I know Chuck believes that this happens very, very, very rarely, and he is probably right, but bad bottles do happen old and new.
For a fact I know you can get a bad bottle if it has been leaning where the bourbon is touching the cork. It will eat that cork and become “corked”
I know you can get a bad bottle of it has been leaking over a long period of time and “other” things have gotten back in.
Some bourbons if they are leaking air for long enough change dramatically from what went in on bottling day.
I am a believer that if it is left in the sun for a long period of time, whether it is cork or screw cap, it will turn due to a number of chemical activities.
I also think that you can get a micro environment in a bottle and leach from the plastic in a plastic bottle and from the cap (the rubber and plastic) usually due to sun and heat.
I am not so convinced that you get many new bad bottles that were bad from the distillery. So much time and care goes into ensuring that a distillery is not sending off bad juice from contamination, impurities, bad corks, etc that they would loose too much money not to ensure that the juice is not good leaving the distillery.
Now I do believe you can get bad single barrels. I have taste some SBs I think are really bad, maybe not “spoiled” but sure taste bad (EC 18yr from 1989, Willy Wallace WTKS, and a few others.
I have had a couple bad bottles, usually due to corking, which is a very distinct taste to me. I have also had 1-2 that were oxidized to the point that they were rotten.
Greg Gilbert had a AH Hirsch Gold Foil that tastes to me that it was bad from the day it was bottled and if I had to guess, it was the bourbon in the tank that was against or sitting in the valve area for way to long. The glass, cork, etc were perfect, but it was a really bad bottle of bourbon.
So, Chuck, et al,
What are your thoughts?