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Label removal experiences

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Label removal experiences

Postby Holysinner » Mon Jan 25, 2010 2:33 am

I needed to make some room on my whisky shelf for new bottles, so yesterday I finally got around to removing the labels from my empties. I don't know if this will interest anyone, but I thought I'd share my experience of what worked and what didn't in case anyone else likes to save labels.

First I tried putting a bottle in the oven at 175F for ~5 minutes. With 4 of the bottles, the labee peeled right off with no difficulty:
Laphroaig 10 & QC
Old Weller Antique 107

The other bottles used a different type of adhesive which heat alone didn't help with. I tried steaming a couple of other bottles, but that wasn't effective either. So the remainder I soaked in hot water.
Macallan 12 came off on it's own in the water.

I didn't have a razor blade, so I used a knife to gently slide the label off the bottle with the others:
Highland Park 12
Cragganmore 12
Auchentoshan Select
Tamdhu 10
Glenfiddich 12
Powers Gold Label
Black Bottle
J&B Rare

The most difficult were:
Deanston 12
Bowmore Legend
Glenmorangie 10
Johnnie Walker Black

These might have worked better if I'd used hotter water or soaked longer, but I got them off with minimal tearing anyway. In the case of the JW label, the glue didn't seem to weaken at all, so I ended up tearing the front of the paper off the backing.

In most cases I imagine a bottler will use the same paper and adhesive type for all expressions from a distillery, but I listed the specific bottle I was working with in case there are differences.

If anyone has a better approach than I've used, or had success with specific bottles, I'd love to hear it.
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Re: Label removal experiences

Postby Ganga » Mon Jan 25, 2010 4:08 am

I know someone that soaks them for a day or two which works for most. That is a struggle with the Laphroaigs but I will pass along your succesful strategy.
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Re: Label removal experiences

Postby ClubSmed » Mon Jan 25, 2010 12:01 pm

You could try a journal like this for peeling and keeping labels:
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Re: Label removal experiences

Postby Holysinner » Tue Jan 26, 2010 1:22 am

I thought about getting those, but they're pretty pricey for something that I can do essentially for free, even if in some cases less effectively. I'm storing the labels in a hardbound sketchbook, ~$10.

Before discovering whisky, I drank wine frequently, and also saved those labels. The vast majority came off easily with the oven method above. It seems a little odd that so many whisky bottles use a different adhesive. I was primarily drinking N. and S. American wines, though, so that may have something to do with it (ie. different glue favored over here).
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Re: Label removal experiences

Postby The Third Dram » Tue Jan 26, 2010 3:04 am

There's no denying the appeal of leafing through label albums. And, goodness knows, I've been an inveterate collector of labels (be they from bottles of wine, beer or spirits) for decades. But you always seem to come across some labels that, more often than not due to the gauge of the adhesive far outstripping - pardon the pun - the thickness of the actual paper label, just won't come off in one piece. Terribly frustrating, this is.

These days, though, I find my tiny digital camera or my flat-bed scanner far easier to use and far better suited to acquiring a pristine and highly detailed image of those labels - while still on the bottle, no less!
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