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Issue 132 - Ask The Expert

Whisky Magazine Issue 132
December 2015


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Ask The Expert

Send your questions to or by post to: Q&A, Whisky Magazine, St Faiths House, Mountergate, Norwich, England, NR1 1PY

I recently bought a bottle of Bowmore Bicentenary edition 1779 – 1979. The top of the bottle is sealed with wax but a little crack has appeared on the edge and a small piece of wax has fallen off. Is it normal that the wax has developed a crack over the years? Will I start to lose my precious whisky? Should I attempt to restore the wax somehow, and if I do, will the bottle lose value? I thought about applying parafilm but I don't know if it will damage the wax further? Could you give me some advice?
J. Carignan

There are a number of notable collectible bottles that have wax seals: Ardbeg Provenance 1974, Glenmorangie Sesquicentennial Selection 21 Years Old, Black Bowmore 1964, and your Bowmore Bicentenary to give but a few examples. In the long term, many wax seals can be prone to cracking and splitting, creating an anxious situation for the drinker and collector. Now, remember that the cork, not the wax, is the bottle's primary closure keeping your whisky safe inside. The integrity of the cork can deteriorate over time, depending on how the bottle has been stored. Corks can dry out, disintegrate, or loosen, potentially leading to evaporation. If that bottle has a wax seal that has become defective concurrently through cracking or chipping, then evaporation is more likely. Many collectors use low permeability wrappings to reduce the risk of evaporation, though individual products can react with packaging under certain conditions. Undeniably, significant ullage ...

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