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bad bottle

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bad bottle

Postby whiskgeek » Fri Oct 19, 2012 4:08 am

Last weekend, we had a bottle that smelled strongly musty. Moreso in the glass. The whisky was peated, with burgundy cask maturation. The taste was strongly divided between the delicious peaty/wine and the horrible musty/fishy flavors. I've never had a whisky with such division between the flavors. They were competing with each other, but the bad was just too bad. It took a glass of Ardbeg to get rid of the fishy taste, and I was still burping it up during the glass after that.

Anyway, it's obvious we had a bad bottle. But what causes it? Doing some research, I find that bad wine is caused by a chemical often found in corks. I assume it's the same thing, but it seems much stronger than the taint found in the bad wines. It seemed like I could even feel it on my tongue, but that may have been my imagination.

Any thoughts or experiences?
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Re: bad bottle

Postby whiskgeek » Fri Oct 19, 2012 4:15 am

And how about bad barrels?

Once, for a tasting, we had four bottles of a Signatory Ben Nevis. I thought it was very odd tasting stuff, and not great. The people around me agreed. Most of the rest of the room thought it was very bad. The one leftover bottle was dumped out. There was a certain amount of variability in the bottles. A couple of the flavors detected were peanut and burlap.

How bad does a barrel have to be before the owner decides not to bottle it? And how does a barrel go bad? Any particular way?
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Re: bad bottle

Postby The Third Dram » Fri Oct 19, 2012 7:17 pm

whiskgeek wrote:The whisky was peated, with burgundy cask maturation. The taste was strongly divided between the delicious peaty/wine and the horrible musty/fishy flavors.

Personally, I don't generally buy into the concept of a whisky that's been exposed to Burgundy cask maturation, especially given that the aromas and flavours so many Pinot Noir afficionados relish (those elusive combinations of delicate fruit and terroir - the latter often encompassing notions of decomposed earth, herbs, etc.) can so easily 'muddy' the clear malt thrust of a spirit - even a peated one. Plus, there are likely a lot of substandard wine casks kicking around the Côte d'Or and Côte de Beaune. A potential recipe for disaster, in my opinion. Remember the Burgundy-finished Glenmorangie of a few years back?
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Re: bad bottle

Postby whiskgeek » Sun Oct 21, 2012 2:57 am

So you think it may have been due to a bad cask? This stuff was so bad that I can't see how reputable outlet could have willingly sold it. So I assume it was a bad bottle rather than a bad cask.

As for the flavors I was talking about, it could be that the musty/fishy overpowered the muddiness, and made the burgundy seem strong, even though it wouldn't have been clear, had the whisky not been spoiled.
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Re: bad bottle

Postby whiskgeek » Sun Oct 21, 2012 5:09 am

Interesting thoughts about the burgundy, though. Makes me want to try some.
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