Is my Gin Corked?

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Casey Hartlip
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Is my Gin Corked?

#1 Post by Casey Hartlip » February 18th, 2016, 5:29 pm

I buy Bombay Sapphire by the 1.75's. I usually get two at a time at Bottle Barn in Santa Rosa when I'm passing through. I stopped by the other day and bought a single bottle. So it's happy hour at my house and I mix up my usual 40-60 G&T (that's 40% gin BTW). The beverage has that telltale wet cardboard cork taint flavor all the way through to the finish. Today I even bought another bottle/brand of tonic....same taste. Very interesting.
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#2 Post by Anton D » February 18th, 2016, 5:30 pm

Be sure to check your ice, too.
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#3 Post by Brent C l a y t o n » February 18th, 2016, 5:31 pm

Bombay Sapphire has a metal screwcap IIRC so I don't know how it could be 'corked.' However I occasionally get a 'bad' bottle of spirits returned, it might be some other type of spoilage. If it was TCA, how would it get in there?
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Is my Gin Corked?

#4 Post by Drew Goin » February 18th, 2016, 5:36 pm

I recall a couple of "Holy Hand Grenades" of Blanton's Bourbon being returned to the shop I worked at ten years ago.

I smelled both opened bottles, and they were somehow tainted. The bottles all had handwritten codes for batches and bottling dates. Turns out that there was a whole batch that had been ruined, and the distributor had to pick up the bottles.

I would bring it to the attention of the retailer ASAP. You never know what could be wrong with your bottle!

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Is my Gin Corked?

#5 Post by Chuck Miller » February 19th, 2016, 12:29 pm

I have had a bottle of Macallan 12 that was corked, replaced by the state liquor store before we went private, so yes, it could very well be corked.

Of more interest is that a few months ago I bought 3 x 1.75 liters of Bombay Sapphire at Total Wine. Open the first, and it was not good (not corked, but way off). Opened the second, same thing, but I was able to come up with a descriptor, which is that it tasted like a dead rodent smells while decomposing. The third bottle got returned unopened for credit (replaced it with Tanqueray). I wonder if there is something systemic with Bombay Sapphire going on (admittedly, a pretty limited sample size).
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#6 Post by Drew Goin » February 19th, 2016, 2:09 pm

Chuck Miller wrote:I have had a bottle of Macallan 12 that was corked, replaced by the state liquor store before we went private, so yes, it could very well be corked.

Of more interest is that a few months ago I bought 3 x 1.75 liters of Bombay Sapphire at Total Wine. Open the first, and it was not good (not corked, but way off). Opened the second, same thing, but I was able to come up with a descriptor, which is that it tasted like a dead rodent smells while decomposing. The third bottle got returned unopened for credit (replaced it with Tanqueray). I wonder if there is something systemic with Bombay Sapphire going on (admittedly, a pretty limited sample size).
The dead rodent comment reminded me of a story an old liquor rep told me years ago...

At the Gallo E&J brandy distillery, they used to have a dog that they allowed to run around the place - sort of the "mascot", if you will. Well, one day "Buddy" went missing. They couldn't find him anywhere. Days passed, and they assumed that Buddy had simply run away...

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#7 Post by Chuck Miller » February 19th, 2016, 2:25 pm

But he died happy.
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#8 Post by Brent C l a y t o n » February 19th, 2016, 4:32 pm

Chuck Miller wrote:I have had a bottle of Macallan 12 that was corked, replaced by the state liquor store before we went private, so yes, it could very well be corked.
I would not argue that any spirit with an actual cork finish could be corked. It does seem strange in the case of Bombay Sapphire, however, as I noted it does not have a cork finish.
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#9 Post by Chuck Miller » February 19th, 2016, 4:59 pm

Brent, noted, but cork is far from the only source of TCA. I have heard of cans of Coke being corked. There are certainly systemic TCA issues occasionally, not just an individual bottle of something where a cork stopper would typically be the cause.
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#10 Post by Brent C l a y t o n » February 19th, 2016, 7:44 pm

Chuck,

I understand, and I'm not saying that cork is the only source of TCA, but I've never heard of a spirit that wasn't under cork having TCA. Or a Coke for that matter. Not that I doubt Casey or you on either count. We've talked about corked veggies; carrots, broccoli, and celery, for instance, and an assortment of other things. TCA can get in these products in many ways, such as packaging or in the case of vegetables even moisture can carry it.

In this particular instance it just seems way outside the norm, but it's interesting that you mentioned you had a couple of funky bottles of the same product. Maybe they have some factory bottling/warehousing issues, or storage tanks are not being cleaned/maintained properly.
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Is my Gin Corked?

#11 Post by Casey Hartlip » March 12th, 2016, 8:36 pm

As expected the Bottle Barn folks made good on this bottle.
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#12 Post by andy velebil » March 28th, 2016, 7:10 pm

I love sapphire and buy a lot of it from Costco in the 1.75. Haven't had a bad bottle yet. But they make a ton of it per year so an odd bad batch/bottle is very possible.
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#13 Post by Casey Hartlip » June 24th, 2016, 5:48 pm

I just returned my second bottle of Sapphire to Bottle Barn in Santa Rosa. The liquor manager says its starting to be an alarming trend. Bought Beefeater today.
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Is my Gin Corked?

#14 Post by Casey Hartlip » September 17th, 2016, 4:39 am

Went to a wedding yesterday (yes on a Friday in the middle of harvest) and experienced another bad bottle of Sapphire. Nice event, full bar. I wasn't the only one who noticed.
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Is my Gin Corked?

#15 Post by Andrew E » June 12th, 2018, 5:24 pm

I am a long time sapphire drinker and have had this happen on several occasions. A bad bottle is vastly different than “good” sapphire so it will be abundantly clear to you that something is off. I have returned several glasses at the bar over the years and so far bartenders have agreed every time that “something” is wrong with the bottle. Happens more frequently than I would expect....

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Is my Gin Corked?

#16 Post by Jason Crawford » June 15th, 2018, 7:13 pm

Drew Goin wrote:
Chuck Miller wrote:I have had a bottle of Macallan 12 that was corked, replaced by the state liquor store before we went private, so yes, it could very well be corked.

Of more interest is that a few months ago I bought 3 x 1.75 liters of Bombay Sapphire at Total Wine. Open the first, and it was not good (not corked, but way off). Opened the second, same thing, but I was able to come up with a descriptor, which is that it tasted like a dead rodent smells while decomposing. The third bottle got returned unopened for credit (replaced it with Tanqueray). I wonder if there is something systemic with Bombay Sapphire going on (admittedly, a pretty limited sample size).
The dead rodent comment reminded me of a story an old liquor rep told me years ago...

At the Gallo E&J brandy distillery, they used to have a dog that they allowed to run around the place - sort of the "mascot", if you will. Well, one day "Buddy" went missing. They couldn't find him anywhere. Days passed, and they assumed that Buddy had simply run away...
RIP Buddy

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