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  1. #1

    Is there any \"Corked\" Whiskey?

    An occassional bottle of wine has a particular off smell that is called "corked". It has been shown to be due to a fungus that pops up now and then in the cork. Maybe one in a hundred bottles. Once you learn the smell, it is very easy to recognize. I wonder if cork finished whiskey bottles ever have this same problem. I'd guess that it should occur. I have not run across any myself.

    I have had a different kind of "corked" whiskey. My friends gave me a bottle of Chivas Regal when I got into graduate school in California (now the state of Arnold). I have had a sip of this stuff now and then over the last 27 years. After a lapse of many years, the last sip was remarkable for the VERY intense smell of the plastic liner of the screw cap. (And, no, it isn't just because it is scotch that it smelled this way.) Granted, it was 27 years old. Has anyone here noticed off smells from the caps?

    -Mark W

  2. #2

    Re: Is there any \"Corked\" Whiskey?

    I currently have 12 bottles opened -- and every one is uncorked (I'm sorry, I couldn't resist).
    Seriously, no. Liquor (at least at 80-proof and above, which is where bourbon/whiskey resides) is stable after bottling. An exception may be a small volume trapped in a large bottle (with the remainder of the bottle filled with air) over a long period of time. The flavor might 'turn' after a year or more -- but why let it last that long?
    Here's one short, recent thread of many where it's been discussed here:
    Taste of Old Bourbon (see third post)

    Second post links to yet another previous, similar discussion.

    So, presumably, even if the cork itself is bad, it doesn't affect the bourbon.


  3. #3
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    Re: Is there any \"Corked\" Whiskey?

    > I wonder if cork finished whiskey bottles ever have this same problem.

    Compared to wine (where corked bottles are suprisingly common), it's
    very very very rare to find a corked whiskey. Ulf Buxrud (a very famous
    collector of whiskies) once mentioned that he's seen it happen a grand total
    of about seven times. Taking a wild guess that he's tasted, say, a thousand
    bottles over his 30 year collecting career, that puts us at about 0.7%.
    Wine, on the other hand, is corked anywhere from 3% - 10% of the time,
    depending on who you ask and what their drinking habits are.

    Tim Dellinger

  4. #4
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    Re: Is there any \"Corked\" Whiskey?

    It seems to me that the far higher alcohol and much lower sugar content of whiskey would make the whiskey cork inhospitable to any kind of cork fungus.

  5. #5
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: Is there any \"Corked\" Whiskey?

    I agree, I think more often the problem is the (natural) cork flavor gets into the whiskey. Some corks are "aromatic", or perhaps have off-flavours from cleaning fluids or other external sources. In fact, this problem is rare simply because most whiskey isn't kept long enough to absorb cork flavor. I thought the Old Crow from the 1960's at the recent Gazebo had a light cork taste but it was very mild, hardly affecting the drink at all. I recognised it from certain older wines that also had acquired the flavor, sometimes the cork taste just gets in.

    Gary

  6. #6
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    Re: Is there any \"Corked\" Whiskey?

    Well... call me crazy, but I just recently found a bottle of Blanton's in with the scotch at my local liquor store... since this is usually available only through special order, and I had never tried Blanton's before, I decided to make the purchase. The box that the bottle came in was dusty as all hell, and it looked like it had been sitting there forever. But whiskey doesn't age in the bottle, so I figured "What the hell".

    Opened it last night and gave myself a generous pour in a tumbler. Smelled it - smelled like bourbon, but nothing special. Took a sip - UGH! Very smooth, but there was an "off" taste that I have not heard described for Blanton's. I've heard things like "buttery", "smooth" and "caramel" describe the flavor of Blanton's. The taste I described had all those elements, but also a very strong bitter taste.

    I looked at the topper, and the cork on the bottom of it was all white and almost "melted" looking. Small pieces of cork seemed to be floating in the drink. Could those bozos at the liquor store have stored this thing on its side for a long period of time? Or do I just not like Blanton's?

  7. #7
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    Re: Is there any \"Corked\" Whiskey?

    Could those bozos at the liquor store have stored this thing on its side for a long period of time?
    Yes, quite possibly. I've seen this happen before with the effect of degradation of the cork.

    [/QUOTE]

    Or do I just not like Blanton's?
    No. Something was wrong with the bottle. Try another one and take the one you got back for a refund. I've never detected a "strong bitter taste" to Blanton's. JMHO.

  8. #8
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    Re: Is there any \"Corked\" Whiskey?

    No. Something was wrong with the bottle. Try another one and take the one you got back for a refund. I've never detected a "strong bitter taste" to Blanton's. JMHO.
    Unfortunately, I don't have the receipt, and the liquor store I purchased it from is not exactly customer-oriented. Most of the customers stumble out with two 1.5L jugs of Gilbey's vodka. They could probably care less about my problem. Since I don't have another $38 to spend right at the moment, I'll have to hold off trying Blanton's, and stick with the EWSB '94 vintage, which I picked up the other day and have found to be quite good.

    I may try to find a good bar and sample some Blanton's there before I spend another $38.

  9. #9
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    Re: Is there any \"Corked\" Whiskey?

    You might try returning it anyway you never know. If it was something unusual they don't sell often they might just remember you buying it. You might not get your money back but they may give you an exchange at least. If you're going to be stuck with the bottle anyway, might as well give them a shot.

  10. #10
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Is there any \"Corked\" Whiskey?

    I concur that your bottle probably is damaged. If you are stuck with it, you might see if you can improve it. Try pouring it through a coffee filter first, maybe two or three times (with a clean filter each time). If that doesn't help, take a piece of white bread, toast it very thoroughly, place it between two coffee filters, and pour the whiskey through that.

    Will either of these ideas work? I have no idea. I'm making this stuff up, but it's based on some sound principles. If you do try it, by all means let us know if the experiments were successful.

    What do you have to lose?

 

 

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