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Thread: Bad Corks

  1. #1
    Advanced Taster
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    Bad Corks

    Has anybody here ever had a problem with newly bought bourbon either leaking or evaporating from the bottle because of a defective or questionable cork stopper?

    I bought a bottle of Elijah Craig 12 yr. a week ago. Since then, I've opened it twice and poured a few drinks. Last night as I was reaching for another bottle, I noticed the EC cork stopper looked completely dry. I pulled the stopper out of the bottle and, sure enough, it was. I replaced the stopper and turned the bottle upside down to wet the cork. When I did that, the bourbon began leaking out of the bottle at an alarming rate. No matter how I turned the cork, there was always some amount of leakage from the bottle, so I knew the seal was not what it should be.

    I found an empty Weller bottle with a screw cap and was preparing to empty the EC into the Weller bottle. But one last try at turning the cork seemed to produce a good seal. I checked the cork this morning and it seems to be moist and there is no leakage when I turn the bottle upside down.

    When I first opened this bottle last week, it seemed way too easy to pull the cork out . Either the stopper is slightly small or there are cuts in the cork that make a good seal difficult.

    Maybe some of these woes are listed elsewhere on this forum. But has anybody else had this problem? Ever had any significant evaporation of bourbon take place from a defective seal??

    -Troy

  2. #2
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    Re: Bad Corks

    I bought a bottle of Jefferson's Reserve about a year ago and when I was opening it for the first time the damn cork broke right off the glass stopper and got 1/2 stuck in the bottle. I got it out alright and even emailed the distillery. They mailed me a new cork/stopper overnight!

  3. #3
    Bourbonian of the Year 2006
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    Re: Bad Corks

    Troy,
    I've had a variety of cork issues, all self inflicted.
    1. I left a bottle in a car during hot weather and it pushed the cork and wax seal off the bottle and leaked.
    2. I had an opened bottle stored in a cabinet that pushed the cork up slightly, till it vented, and then the cork dried and I had some evaporation. I realized that the bottle had been in a cooler, for tailgating, and when it came back to room temp, the expansion of vapors must have forced the cork.
    3. I had a bottle stored on its side, before I read in this forum not to do so, and the cork ruined it. It wasn't bourbon, but it still counts. I think it was Drambuie. For some reason, we had it in a wine rack.
    4. I shipped a bottle to someone and it arrived with the wax seal intact, but leakage around the screw cap!!! I've never seen that before. It was a collectible Maker's.
    It's still sealed with wax and tear tab intact,but 3/4's full. The packing absorbed the leakage, but the label was sl. stained.


  4. #4
    Disciple
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    Re: Bad Corks

    I have had seen the cork of a bottle of Knob Creek fall apart as an associate was wrestling with the impenetrable wax seal. Good stuff if you like your bourbon chewy. I remember Jim mentioning something like that happening to him during the first SB.com chat I went to, as well (that was A WHILE back).


    Tom ( 1600 ) C

  5. #5
    Bourbonian of the Year 2004 and Guru
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    Re: Bad Corks

    Corks...and the sealing process are part of my job at Heaven Hill...If the press comes down to hard it can damage the cork...I take extra precautions to make sure that the right amout of pressure is there...

    I will make several "dry runs" of the Elijah Craig bottle throughout the set up...

    The last test that I do before I turn it over to the workers...I always run about 10 full "test" bottles through it...Check em to see if it is a proper seal...Make sure the plastic top is not damaged...and of course look at the cork to see if there is a split...

    It's difficult to tell if a cork is bad...before it is applied...You really don't know "for sure" if it will hold up just by looking at it...

    I have noticed in the WLD they put a extra cork in the gift box with the Evan Williams distiller's select (jug) and the Henry McKenna jug...

    Bettye Jo

  6. #6
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: Bad Corks

    Interesting data. Clearly the process is done with a lot of forethought and care. I have never had a problem with a leaking cork. Very occasionally, the cork is slightly "loose" but it never affects the staunchedness even when the bottle is upturned. Recently though, I felt a cork froma bourbon bottle had a strong odour, not a natural cork (much less whiskey) odour but rather a "processing" odour of some kind, as if any solution it might have been cleaned in had not been washed off or soaked out. This was one of those wide corks for decanter bottles. It happened also a few years ago with a Canadian whisky and in that case I felt the odour got into the whisky. I replaced the cork on the bourbon bottle to make sure that did not happen. I feel I can taste slight off-flavours and think the bad taste was starting to get in but replacing the cork solved the problem. It is an interesting question whether any natural cork odour gets in to bottles kept a long time. I think it does, but not always, and not always with adverse results in any case..

    Gary

  7. #7
    Advanced Taster
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    Re: Bad Corks

    Aha!!! Now I have someone to blame!

  8. #8
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    Re: Bad Corks

    The same thing happened to me a few weeks ago with a new bottle of Black Maple Hill. I was twisting the top to uncork the bottle for the first time when the cork just snapped off the cap and got plugged in the bottle. I worked it out with a corkscrew, and replaced it with an old cork/cap from an empty bottle of Elmer T. Lee.

  9. #9
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    Re: Bad Corks

    The same thing has happened to me twice with expensive bottles of cognac. I figure they probably sat on the shelf for too many years.

    I drank them, anyway.

    Tim

  10. #10
    Bourbonian of the Year 2004 and Guru
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    Re: Bad Corks

    Troy

    I thought about you Monday night

    I was changing the line over to run, Elijah Craig...

    I was grinnin' really big ...

    Thought of this post ...

    Hey...The Julian Date will read L3083...If you get one and this date appears on it...know that...When it was being bottled...Some one was thinkin' of ya

    Bettye Jo

 

 

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