Online whisky retailer and independent bottler Master of Malt has announced an experiment – whiskies bottled with glass closures instead of traditional corks or screw tops. This is the first time a closure of this type has been used to bottle single malt whisky.
Corks have been used to close whisky bottles for centuries, but, cork-taint (especially TCA – or 2,4,6 trichloroanisol) has the potential to add undesirable aromas and flavours to a bottle of whisky in exactly the same way as a fine wine. In wine circles, debate has long raged on the subject of cork versus screwcap closures… It should be noted however, that while gas-exchange (through the slightly porous corks) is desirable in wine, no such demand is present for distilled spirits where in-bottle development is a much, much smaller consideration.
Many whisky enthusiasts view screw caps as ‘cheap’ and aesthetically unpleasing. The new glass closures used by Master of Malt are both attractive and functional. Unlike decanter stoppers, they are airtight thanks to a thin, specially engineered rubberised seal that perfectly fits each bottle.
The experimental closures will feature on a two 12 year old Bruichladdich single malts, one matured in a first-fill Sherry cask, the other in a first-fill bourbon cask. Launched at midday today, 22 April, these will be used to assess consumer demand and appreciation, and Master of Malt is inviting feedback through its blog. Three other Master of Malt single cask bottlings (with corks) will be released at the same time, including a 23 year old Ardbeg.