Do you know what I hate?
Agglomerated cork closures on whiskey bottles. Never heard of agglomerated cork? Neither had I until I looked up what the closures made of compressed cork granules were named. But now that I have a fancy name for them, I hate them even more.
What is agglomerated cork? Well, it's just what I listed above. It's a closure made out of real cork, except instead of being a solid piece of cork, it's created from the ground up bits that are left over from making a solid piece of cork. Think of it as the particle board of the cork world. It's a bunch of different pieces of cork glued back into a cork shape.
Now, from my research, there seem to be some really good reasons to use particle cork. It apparently keeps air out a little better than solid cork. And, lo and behold, it is also much cheaper than solid natural cork. Both of these are excellent things. One keeps the whiskey in the bottle in better shape, for a longer time-frame, and the other helps keep the price down.
So why do I hate them so much? Easy. Every broken cork I've ever had to fish out of a bottle of whiskey has been particle cork. For my money, if you have to use a low-cost option, go with a screw cap. I know. I know. It doesn't have the same aesthetics. (And as such it won't help you justify the higher cost you've put on that pretty bottle.) So if a screw cap is out of the question, maybe a synthetic cork? I've had them break as well, but normally it is the glued-on top separating from the closure, not the closure itself breaking in half.
In any case, particle cork is my least favorite closure. And yes, I am geeky enough to have both a favorite and a least favorite closure. But fortunately, as I look at my shelf, I see particle cork is the least well represented, used by only Elijah Craig Barrel Proof, Wild Turkey Rye, a rum, and the three open bottles of various Bulleit expressions on my shelf. Which brings me to the bottle that set off this entire learning experience.
Bulleit 10-year-old Bourbon
Purchase Info: $42.99 for a 750 mL bottle at Total Wine, Burnsville, MN.
Details: 45.6% ABV. Aged ten years.
Nose: Floral with cotton candy, caramel, and baking spices.
Mouth: The mouth follows the nose. Floral, caramel, baking spices, cocoa nibs, and oak.
Finish: Long and warm with lingering floral notes.
Thoughts: This is a tasty, though drier, version of Bulleit. It is very floral and tends toward bitter (in a cocoa nib sort of way). This reminds me of some of the blends I came up with while doing my Four Roses blending experiment a while back, which isn't terribly surprising since there is probably a still good proportion of Four Roses juice in here.
Is this worth twice as much as the regular release of Bulleit. That depends on how you feel about dry and bitter versus sweet bourbons. But personal preference aside, I have to say that in an era of increasing prices and disappearing age statements, it is nice to see a ten-year-old bourbon for under $50.
Well hey there, bourbon-lover. I just wrote a great big thing about cork yet; I have nothing made from cork for sale over at BourbonGuyGifts.com. Is this some sort of mistake? Did my marketing team miss the boat? No. It just goes to show that I am not driven by advertising. Even when I'm advertising for myself. And that I have no marketing team. Anyway, if you want to support BourbonGuy.com you can head on over to BourbonGuyGifts.com and buy something. It's a great way to make sure I can pay all my bills.