Not a member? - Register and login now.
All registered users can read our entire magazine archive.

Problems with cork?

All your whisky related questions answered here.

Problems with cork?

Postby kallaskander » Sat Jul 23, 2005 9:37 am

Hi there,

at my favourite shop there was a customer who complained about a corky taste in a newly bought bottle yesterday. He said that he had bought the bottle the day before and drank some of the malt with his friends the same evening and all noticed that the malt was not in order. We tried it there and then and being a sherried whisky it was very winey in the nose and there was something else, tangy, musty. It tasted much to winey too and .... it was hard to point out exactly what was wrong. At the end of the finish was a definetly corky taste on tongue and palate that just would not go away.

NOTE: I do not want to start rumours or create a panic nor do I want to slight or harm the reputation of any distillery I will name.

I got curious and asked whether this had happened before and was told that it was the second case this week. The malts concerned were Glenfarclas 15 years OB (as mentioned above) and a Scapa 14 years OB. There had been other cases before, among them a 15 year old Bowmore Legend OB.

There is a problem with the production of good cork for bottling in Spain and Portugal. The too dry summers in the last couple of years, fires and a pest, a worm which destroys the bark of cork producing oaks have led to the phenomenon that the corks they can produce at all are too porous. Because of the draught the cork layers on the oaks are too thin and they have less density.
Mayor wine producer and wine makers in South Africa, Kalifornia etc. switched to screw tops bacause they have had a return rate of up to one third of their production because of cork problems. That is not good for any reputation.

I did not encounter corkiness in a malt as yet. So I thought I put the question to you. It might, only might be the starting point of something we might encounter more often in the future.
Any comments on that?

Greetings
kallaskander
kallaskander
Double Gold Member
 
Posts: 1119
Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2005 12:47 pm
Location: Heddesheim, Germany

Postby Aidan » Sat Jul 23, 2005 9:47 am

I know Irish Distillers get a number of bottles back every year do to "corking". A very small amount, though.

Corks aren't even necessary. They're just an image thing, as I believe they add nothing to the whisky. I wonder when we'll be seeing plastic corks in whisky bottles. Probably not any time soon.
Aidan
Cask Strength Gold Member
 
Posts: 3252
Joined: Sun Nov 10, 2002 2:01 am
Location: Dublin

Postby mbanu » Sat Jul 23, 2005 11:01 am

Aidan wrote:Corks aren't even necessary. They're just an image thing, as I believe they add nothing to the whisky. I wonder when we'll be seeing plastic corks in whisky bottles. Probably not any time soon.


I don't know why they bother at all with corks in liquor. In the short and long term, it's nothing but problems. Here through the miracle of modern technology, a solution to both short and long term corking problems has already been invented (and after 80-odd years of use on liquor bottles in its current form, proven unharmful and effective I would hope) but higher end liquor maufacturers aren't using it for fear of being seen as having no respect for tradition! For Pete's sake, it's been almost 100 years already, you didn't drag your feet this long in deciding to start selling by the bottle instead of the barrel, did you? :roll:
mbanu
New member
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2005 7:41 am
Location: Columbia, South Carolina

Postby Lawrence » Sat Jul 23, 2005 6:03 pm

I agree with Aidan, it has a lot to do with image and not function, after all what they really want is a secure closure that will prevent leaks and stop the entrance of air. I wonder if the industry has looked at beer style closures or even going entirely to screw tops.

Image
Lawrence
Matured cask
 
Posts: 5019
Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 1:01 am
Location: Victoria, BC, Canada

Postby Lord_Pfaffin » Sat Jul 23, 2005 8:59 pm

The day of the cork stopper will soon be at an end. Most of blends have the screwtops these days, with the sms being the hold-outs because of the image thing may only go as far as replacing the cork with a polymer instead of committing to the dreaded screwtop that exudes chintziness.
Getting easier to fine some finer wines with the screwtop and perhaps when the "high-end" wine industry is more committed only then will the stigma be foregotten.
Lord_Pfaffin
Silver Member
 
Posts: 498
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2005 10:54 pm
Location: Toronto

Postby Crispy Critter » Sun Jul 24, 2005 3:27 am

Aidan wrote:I wonder when we'll be seeing plastic corks in whisky bottles. Probably not any time soon.


My bottle of Compass Box Asyla has a synthetic stopper, made of some type of rubbery material. FWIW, it works very well.

IMHO, there's nothing wrong with modern plastic screw-tops. I've seen them on Yamazaki 12 and some bourbons (even some top-shelf bourbons like ORVW 15), and I've never had problems with them.
Crispy Critter
Silver Member
 
Posts: 265
Joined: Tue Jan 11, 2005 4:50 am
Location: Chicago

Postby bernstein » Sun Jul 24, 2005 6:29 am

Aren't there any possible problems with softening agents to expect? Over the years synthetic stoppers (as well) might wear out. I heard this point made over at some wine forums, where from time to time they're discussing this same topic in quite a length - no wonder :) !
bernstein
Gold Member
 
Posts: 590
Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2005 1:30 pm

Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Jul 24, 2005 9:01 am

As has been noted here before, screwtops are susceptible to distortion, compromising the contents of a bottle which may be opened and closed many times over a long period.

Perhaps the answer will come from Admiral's homeland:

Image
http://www.zork.com.au/

Of course, they put the cork in the bottom of the bottle down there.
Deactivated Member
 

Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Jul 24, 2005 4:58 pm

Aidan wrote:...I wonder when we'll be seeing plastic corks in whisky bottles. Probably not any time soon.


I have a current, export-only bottling of Olde St. Nick 12yo bourbon from Kentucky Bourbon Distillers which has a plastic (I think -- not natural, anyway, but synthetic) cork. So, it has begun, at least in a small way.
Deactivated Member
 

Postby Lawrence » Sun Jul 24, 2005 7:17 pm

Tattiehead said "Of course, they put the cork in the bottom of the bottle down there


:roll: :D
Lawrence
Matured cask
 
Posts: 5019
Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 1:01 am
Location: Victoria, BC, Canada

Postby bernstein » Sun Jul 24, 2005 7:38 pm

Lawrence wrote: :roll: : :D

:lol:
bernstein
Gold Member
 
Posts: 590
Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2005 1:30 pm

Postby jimidrammer » Sun Jul 24, 2005 8:33 pm

I have a bottle with the plastic screw cap that does fine (Glen Scotia 14), but I have bottles with the tin caps that let the bottle breathe, so I'm not a fan of those cheap ones. I've been in a store and looked at a few cheaper malts with these and can smell the contents when I open the box. Hopefully there won't be a trend toward those.
jimidrammer
Gold Member
 
Posts: 918
Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2005 4:00 am
Location: Arkansas, US

Postby Crispy Critter » Sun Jul 24, 2005 8:44 pm

MrTattieHeid wrote:http://www.zork.com.au/


"It is now pitch dark. You are likely to be eaten by a grue."
Crispy Critter
Silver Member
 
Posts: 265
Joined: Tue Jan 11, 2005 4:50 am
Location: Chicago

Postby Admiral » Mon Jul 25, 2005 4:42 am

Of course, they put the cork in the bottom of the bottle down there


Not sure how I'm supposed to respond to that....
:roll:
Admiral
Triple Gold Member
 
Posts: 2719
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2003 2:01 am
Location: Australia

Postby Lawrence » Mon Jul 25, 2005 4:53 am

Not sure how I'm supposed to respond to that....


Maybe it's best not to encourage him..... :wink:
Lawrence
Matured cask
 
Posts: 5019
Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 1:01 am
Location: Victoria, BC, Canada

Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Jul 25, 2005 5:08 am

Admiral wrote:
Of course, they put the cork in the bottom of the bottle down there


Not sure how I'm supposed to respond to that....
:roll:


"Well, naturally, since the bottle is upside down to begin with."
Deactivated Member
 

Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Jul 25, 2005 1:03 pm

Lawrence wrote:Image

I once tried a bottle of White Horse that had been purchased in 1960 and left sitting forgotten on a shelf. It had a metal and rubber stopper of a kind similar (but not identical) to this. My grandfather calls them "over-centre" fastenings. Judging by the flavour of the White Horse whisky, the stopper haddone an admirable job over the course of 30-something years.

- on edit - finally managed to get a picture into a quotation! :)
Deactivated Member
 

Postby Mr Fjeld » Mon Jul 25, 2005 3:14 pm

Wow Nick - that's something I haven't seen yet!
I've been lucky this far and haven't experienced "corked" whisky and I hope I never will. However, the best way to avoid problems with fluids reacting to either the metal in screwcorks or the usual natural cork problems is to make it look like the real thing but make it in a synthetic material. Winebottles with natural corks are to be stored horisontally and with screwcorks you store them standing. With a synthetic you can do both without affecting the fluids in any way.

Skål!
Christian
Mr Fjeld
Cask Strength Gold Member
 
Posts: 4249
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2005 2:08 pm

Return to Questions & Answers

Whisky gift and present finder