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Thread: Broken Cork!

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grant
    I bought a bottle of Wild Turkey Rare Breed back in early January 2006 and opened it the same day to try it out - as this was my first experience with this bourbon.

    This afternoon I decided to taste it again for the second time - and the cork broke off near the top of the wooden handle - leaving the remainder of the cork stuck in the bottle. I was able to pry it out with my trusty Swiss Army knife's AWL tool - with no cork in the bottle.

    For now I have take some plastic wrap and a rubber band to fix the problem - ugly but functional.

    This is the first time I have had this problem - has anyone else experienced this too?

    I sent an email to WT customer service asking for another cork - what do you think the odds are that they will send me one?
    I got the ultimate solution on this problem. Plastic screw corks. I have never ever in my life understood the benefit of natural cork in spirit and wine bottles. Can anyone come up with any reason that natural cork stoppers in wine or liquor bottles could be better in any way?

    Leif
    Swedish lover of American whiskey

  2. #12
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Well, that's a good question. I like using real corks. I tend to "mix and match" them, that is, after a few bottles get opened, the corks get re-assigned, to the bottles they fit best. (Within reason, i.e., I won't use a Scotch cork for bourbon or Canadian, but between the latter, no worries; ditto between Scotch and Irish whiskey bottles). As the corks dampen, darken and take character from the spirit they close, they seem to become more effective, and have an aesthetic quality I find pleasing. There is a satisfying moist pop when they are removed from the bottles, and any off-odours they may once have had are obviated by long contact with characterful spirits of high (or any - it doesn't matter for this purpose) quality.

    Of course I discard some corks, when they become crumbly, but some have lasted a long time and have a peculiarly strong plastic resilience. Artificial corks wouldn't work of course in the same way and therefore aren't of the same utility - or fun.

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 04-14-2006 at 15:41.

  3. #13
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    I've had great luck removing broken corks using an Ah-So type cork remover. It has two flat metal tongs that go between cork and bottle on opposite sides of the cork. A combination of twisting while pulling usually removes the remainder cork without further breakage and minimizes the amount of debris that enters the bottle.

    I've used one of these successfully on wine corks for years and just rescued a bottle of Peter Jake's that my wife brought home for me this weekend.
    John B

    "Drinking when we are not thirsty and making love at all seasons… that is all there is to distinguish us from other animals."

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by nor02lei
    I got the ultimate solution on this problem. Plastic screw corks. I have never ever in my life understood the benefit of natural cork in spirit and wine bottles. Can anyone come up with any reason that natural cork stoppers in wine or liquor bottles could be better in any way?

    Leif
    Interesting question. Have you seen plastic corks in any bottles of spirits?

    I could see the use for plastic or rubber corks in wine bottles for the short periods of time that they are still comsumable after openning.

    Would plastic degrade or dissolve in higher alcohol content solutions such as 141.2 proof GT Stagg over time?

    Does anyone know anything about the cork making process for bourbon bottlers?

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grant
    Interesting question. Have you seen plastic corks in any bottles of spirits?

    I could see the use for plastic or rubber corks in wine bottles for the short periods of time that they are still comsumable after openning.

    Would plastic degrade or dissolve in higher alcohol content solutions such as 141.2 proof GT Stagg over time?

    Does anyone know anything about the cork making process for bourbon bottlers?
    Many American whiskies have plastic screw stoppers. Mostly sheap ones but there are some quality ones to like ORVW 10 and 15 for example. Personally I would like everybody to have it. Not to mansion wine were the benefit would be bigger still.

    Leif
    Swedish lover of American whiskey

  6. #16
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    In wine that is intended to age in the bottle, the use of natural cork allows what best can be described as "controlled oxidation" that greatly improves the wine over extended periods of time.

    However many wines that are considered "ready to drink" when bottled, do not benefit from the use af natual cork closures, and a few wineries are switching over to either plastic corks or screw caps (many Australians, are going the screw cap route)

    Few types of plastic can't handle exposure to high proofs, after all several pure grain(190 proof) bottlings are packaged in plastic bottles.

    The main problem I could see with switching to plastic corks, is the fact that they aren't going to have the nice soft release that a natural cork closure is going to have in a decanter style bottle. If you've ever opened a bottle of wine with a plastic cork you would notice how much tighter the seal is(requires a lot of extra force to remove), trying to use this in a stopper type opening seems like you'll be having a lot of corks breaking off of the stopper...not an unsolveable problem, but possibly one that could cause some problems early on.
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  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by barturtle
    In wine that is intended to age in the bottle, the use of natural cork allows what best can be described as "controlled oxidation" that greatly improves the wine over extended periods of time.

    However many wines that are considered "ready to drink" when bottled, do not benefit from the use af natual cork closures, and a few wineries are switching over to either plastic corks or screw caps (many Australians, are going the screw cap route)

    Few types of plastic can't handle exposure to high proofs, after all several pure grain(190 proof) bottlings are packaged in plastic bottles.

    The main problem I could see with switching to plastic corks, is the fact that they aren't going to have the nice soft release that a natural cork closure is going to have in a decanter style bottle. If you've ever opened a bottle of wine with a plastic cork you would notice how much tighter the seal is(requires a lot of extra force to remove), trying to use this in a stopper type opening seems like you'll be having a lot of corks breaking off of the stopper...not an unsolveable problem, but possibly one that could cause some problems early on.
    Timothy,

    When I wrote plastic cork I meant more like plastic cap like in ORVW. I am not in to wine so much but as I have heard it from more wine knowing friends the only oxidation that goes on in a wine bottle is with the little air that are inside the bottle. Nether a natural cork nor a plastic or metal screw cap allows any more air into the bottle. Therefore the wine can mature in the exact same way in both cases, but you never have the risk of the cork destroying the good taste with a plastic cap. It’s not as common but natural cork can destroy the taste of whiskey as well especially if the bottle have been lying down. All this said I can of cause understand that many of you guys appreciate the special feeling when opening a bottle with natural cork.

    Leif
    Swedish lover of American whiskey

  8. #18
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    If we are speaking only of a plastic cap which threads on to the bottle top, that is an effective closure. Originally these were made of metal. One sees metal ones still, e.g., on some rum bottles. The hard plastic closures (the newer types seem more resilient than the original kind, e.g., the red plastic caps that close Gosling dark rum) seem to impart no odor or other ill effects to the ethanol solution. I have no issue with these closures, and it is true that cork taint is not a problem here (although cases of bad corks of any kind are quite rare I think). I am not claiming that a slightly moist stopper cork improves the spirit but it makes opening the bottle fun as I had said. I have used some real plastic corks, in wine bottles, and find them (the ones I've seen) not perfected. If made to withdraw with a corkscrew the plastic is often too hard for the screw to penetrate easily. The stopper-style plastic closures, which have been around a long time, are more successful. I don't think I've ever seen one in a bourbon bottle.

    Gary

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grant
    Interesting question. Have you seen plastic corks in any bottles of spirits?
    The only one I've seen has been used in bottles of Compass Box Asyla (a lovely, reasonably-priced blended Scotch). From what I can tell, it is some sort of synthetic elastomer. I found it very difficult to remove the first time around, but afterwards it worked quite well.
    Oh no! You have walked into the slavering fangs of a lurking grue!

  10. #20
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    Walker Decanters

    I have Walker Decanter from the 70's that has a plastic cork that's part of the glass stopper.
    Its a clear plastic with ridges.
    Colonel Ed
    Bourbonian of the Year 2006

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