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Folks, save most of your rum corks!


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Paul B (PREMIUM)

Posted 5 Mar '21 from United States with 400 ratings

I had a cork nightmare after driving 50 miles to pick up 4 Haitian Clairins. Two of the corks fell apart when opened and one had to be carved out with a knife. Lucky for me, I had quite a selection of replacement corks, with most of them being based upon the fancy appearance at the top. However, the synthetic corks with a small plastic top are the best ones to keep. Real corks were made for wines and nothing more!!!! So imagine what it would be like to open a long desired bottle of rum and have the cork totally disintegrate! If you had saved any of the Topper's flavored rum bottles from St. Maarten, then you could transfer the precious liquid to one of those with the flip top cork. Otherwise, bring the bottle back to the merchant for a full refund, who will then dump the loss onto the wholesaler. And for those of you who hate screw caps, this is your hint to save corks to replace those hated caps. However, those caps will never disintegrate or allow air to enter the bottle. I rest my case. And despite this cork nightmare, the precious liquid inside was not harmed in any way, which was a freaking miracle.
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Immiketoo (PREMIUM)

From Greece with 49 ratings Replied 5 Mar '21

I had this exact experience with two bottles from the same maker. I was glad I had many to choose from! Great advice :)
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Rene Rum

From Switzerland with 410 ratings Replied 5 Mar '21

Yes Paul, absolutely, save corks with various diameters. I had not many broken corks over decades, but still glad to have one who fit, so I'm not in a hurry to drink the whole bottle. ;-) @Immiketoo, nice collection of Plantation XO corks, they are cool cupboard handles!
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Immiketoo (PREMIUM)

From Greece with 49 ratings Replied 5 Mar '21

@Rene, yeah I love that particular bottle more than any others it seems. It’s freaking delicious and I treat it like dessert! Not a bad idea about the handles! I just have to complete the set!
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Stefan Persson (TASTING CLUB)

From Sweden with 217 ratings Replied 5 Mar '21

Paul, Great advice! If I remember right I’ve had two corks falling apart over the years and was glad to have some saved in reserve. It was an Appleton Joy and an Depaz Grande Reserve White label in the wooden etui.
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Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 400 ratings Replied 6 Mar '21

Stefan: The cork on my Clairin Le Rocher was so bad, that I had to dig it out with a knife several times. Then I had to strain out the pieces floating in the clairin. Talk about a royal pain in a neck! However, this one is so good that I was not about to let it go to waste. I also waited for a year before finding my second bottle. Unsuspecting buyers will not know about this problem until they pull it out of the gift box and entirely remove all of the foil around the top. If one sees a white coating on the cork, be prepared for the same episode that I had. The coating prevents the liquid from keeping the cork wet. Dumb, dumb, dumb! Thankfully, the Clairin Sajous did not have the same cork.
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Stefan Persson (TASTING CLUB)

From Sweden with 217 ratings Replied 8 Mar '21

Paul, Glad to hear that your La Rocher wasn’t destroyed, cause I know it’s your favorite Clairin. I suppose that it fell apart when you opened it so there were no cork parts in the rum before that, which should have ruined it.
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Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 400 ratings Replied 8 Mar '21

Stefan: Nothing was floating around or sunk in my bottle of Le Rocher, but lots of pieces felt into the juice while digging the cork out with a knife. I knew that I could not leave all of those pieces there, so straining the entire bottle through double thick paper towels did the trick of getting every last bit out. The Clairin Le Rocher is still tops, followed closely by Sajous. Half of my dirty Vaval bottle went down the drain, so now I know what dirty rums really mean: rotten sulfides winding up tasting like rubber. Some folks like dirty rums, but not me. I think that those who love dirty rums should warn those who have never encountered them what this really means in their reviews. Heck, one could change the Frank Zappa lyric from "Gimme...your dirty love!" to "Gimme...your dirty rum!".
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vomi1011

From Germany with 325 ratings Replied 8 Mar '21

I use a wine opener for broken corks. After half of the bottle is empty, I also pour the rum into a smaller bottle, this stops further evaporation.
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Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 400 ratings Replied 8 Mar '21

On my bottle of Clairin Vaval, I did use one of those fancy corkscrews with a metal wing on each side. I guess this is called a wine opener in Europe. That cork was able to be removed by pressing down on the wings and then scraping a few tiny bits out whereby none of it got into the liquid. On the Casimir Le Rocher, that cork was totally disintegrated and had to be carved out with great effort. Both corks had a white plastic or wax coating on them before being inserted into the new bottles. I suspect this coating allowed both corks to dry rot. I cannot believe that Luca let something like this get released and put Velier's name on it. The other two bottles were Clairin Casimir 2018 and Clairin Sajous, with both of them having synthetic corks that had no problems at all.
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vomi1011

From Germany with 325 ratings Replied 8 Mar '21

There are better corkscrews, try the Durand. Whiskey connoisseurs use that too. You can search on your own, this is for others: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwRARJqdZS4
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Earl Elliott

From Canada with 202 ratings Replied 10 Mar '21

Great advice. Thanks for posting that. I did have a cork disintegrate and I did exactly what you spoke of. I keep several corks and I also keep the most artistic bottles. Not at the hoarding stage yet.
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kudzey (TASTING CLUB)

From Poland with 18 ratings Replied 15 Mar '21

Are there any rum bottles that are designed for opening them with a corkscrew? I understand using it when the cork breaks but the rum corks I've seen so far have thicker part outside the bottle and there is no way to even try opening it with any kind of device.
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Rene Rum

From Switzerland with 410 ratings Replied 15 Mar '21

kudzey: I had this problem by a bottle Paola rum. A bloody hard seal like sealing wax, I nearly cut my finger off. And in the end, it was a cork like in a wine bottle and I need a corkscrew to remove it and I had it to replace because it was not possible to use the cork further.
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Elgrande

From Cuba with 67 ratings Replied 18 Mar '21

Rum corks are made of industry cork. Unlike wine corks this type of cork is not made for longlivity and tends to dry out during prolonged storage. Even more as rum bottles should be stored upright and not lying like wine bottles. I turn all my bottles upright down at least twice a year to avoid the desiccation. So far it worked quite well
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Rene Rum

From Switzerland with 410 ratings Replied 18 Mar '21

Elgrande, Yes, it's necessary to keep the cork wet from time to time, so it not will dry out. What do you mean with industry cork? Cork is cork, it's a natural product from the cork oak bark, the same like they use in wine bottles. Yes, there are different types of cork. - Cork punched out of a perfect piece of cork oak bark, mostly from Portugal high quality and expensive. - Cork punched out from any piece of cork oak bark, from Portugal too, low quality and not so expensive. - Cork made from ground offcuts, formed with high pressure and heat, no glue needed because of the natural resin, cheep. - Low quality cork coated with something I don't know. - Synthetic cork, made from plastic, like they use nowadays for wine bottles too, to avoid cork taste in the wine It's sad, some bottlers (wine, rum, whisky, it doesn't matter) try to save a few cents with using crap corks.
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Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 400 ratings Replied 19 Mar '21

Rene: Real corks are meant to allow wine to breathe. Rum should not be allowed to breathe until the bottle is opened up. Therefore, real corks on rum bottles only serve the purpose to look good. Once one has to dig out a rotten cork with a knife, they suddenly no longer look good. In today's market, I see lots of synthetic corks. Yes, they are unattractive, but they serve the purpose of lasting forever while keeping the air out. The same goes for metal screw caps, like a lot of the ones used by Richard Seale. Those things will also last forever if designed properly, while also keeping the air out of the bottle until it is opened. As for plastic screw caps attached to the plastic safety ring below, those are almost as bad as corks that have rotted because these plastic caps can allow the rum to empty itself out on the way home from the liquor store. I seem to have found most of the numerous ways for corks and caps to have failed.
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kudzey (TASTING CLUB)

From Poland with 18 ratings Replied 19 Mar '21

I'm wondering why do the rum bottlers still bother to use corks in any form instead of caps. What are the disadvantages of caps? Doubltessly they are cheaper and easier to use. You don't need to moisten them. The only reason I can think of is that they are not as fancy as the corks.
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kudzey (TASTING CLUB)

From Poland with 18 ratings Replied 19 Mar '21

Another thing just came to my mind: why some (premium) bottles offer a spare cork? Do you have such bottles? What are the differences between the primary and the secondary cork?
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Rene Rum

From Switzerland with 410 ratings Replied 21 Mar '21

kudzey, premium bottle with spare cork, it's usually a cork for bottling, storing and transport, the spare cork (it is usually more decorative) is for the final place on your bar shelf.
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Rene Rum

From Switzerland with 410 ratings Replied 21 Mar '21

Paul, kudzey, yes, a lot of studies have shown that the sealing of a bottle is nearly perfect with a screw cap. But this is almost a question of faith whether cork or screw cap. I personally love the nature cork, because of the sound he made if you open the bottle. "Plop" Warning: Stay away from plastics caps, they ruin your car seat.
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Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 400 ratings Replied 23 Mar '21

Rene: When I picked up my rum orders yesterday from three different stores in central Florida, they were perplexed when I asked to check all of the corks and caps first. Then I told them why, with the Navy Bay plastic cap causing the rum to empty all over my car seat and making it smell sweet for three days. That was one really crazy rum running trip for a 1300 mile round trip. I came home with 15 new ones and 2 duplicates. This trip really made me appreciate how peaceful I have it where I live. I kept repeating to myself my modified title of that 1977 song from 10 cc "the things we do for rum". My reviews will be forthcoming, but very SLOWLY!!!!
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Rene Rum

From Switzerland with 410 ratings Replied 25 Mar '21

Paul, I'm always amazed and enjoyed about your cool road trips (rum trips). Your stories give this rum site something special. So, I hope you didn't have to "walking in the rain and the snow"
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Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 400 ratings Replied 25 Mar '21

Rene:

About 80 miles from home, I drove through 60 mph winds and blinding rain on I-10 West. I could only travel at 40 mph and other cars were falling far behind me, so I was speeding a bit. It was white knuckle driving, but I kept calm until I could find an exit about 5 miles later. I then just waited it out until it was safe to resume this rum running trip. Then I saw two SUV's that had been blown off the road. So this was much worse than "walking in the rain and the snow". It's great to be fearless!
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Rene Rum

From Switzerland with 410 ratings Replied 25 Mar '21

Paul, yes, wind can be very dangerous. 30 years ago, I have been hit on a pass road by a 200 kmh wind gust in New Zealand. In the end my van lied fortunately in the ditch and did not fell down the hillside.
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Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 400 ratings Replied 25 Mar '21

Rene: That sound like tornado force winds! Was this trip to get more rums?
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Rene Rum

From Switzerland with 410 ratings Replied 25 Mar '21

Paul, no, I just remember because of your wind story. I drove over the pass to find a place with better weather. The police closed the road to late and so it happens. At this time, nice rum was hard to find in NZ, Steinlager beer was the favorite drink.
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Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 400 ratings Replied 5 Apr '21

Rene:

In a previous posting, you mentioned how you like the sound of corks being removed from rum bottles and I totally agree. This has inspired another crazy idea, but first I must mention that the rum must first be saved and cannot be sacrificed to a rotten cork. In those cases, I would still prefer a synthetic cork or metal screw cap.

So here is my crazy idea! Each cork makes a different musical sound based upon how much rum is left in the bottle. My idea is to record the sound of each cork opening with notes of how much is left in the bottle and save them as MP3 files. Then organize those files and come up with a sequence to recreate the right songs that would go with rum. And "Margaritaville" does not qualify!!! How about "A Rum Tale" by Procol Harum? I am showing my age here, but those results would qualify for a Pulitzer Prize!
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Rene Rum

From Switzerland with 410 ratings Replied 5 Apr '21

Paul, yes, save the rum from rotten corks. Great idea, there’s lots of apps you can use to make a new song with your MP3 files. I would prefer the song Popcorn from Hot Butter, this should be possible with plopping corks.
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Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 400 ratings Replied 5 Apr '21

Rene: I am definitely old school and still don't have a Smart Phone or any Apps that go with it. I have been surviving with my Samsung slider cell phone from 2006, and only got it in the event of having a flat tire on my Harley while riding on lonely country roads. That never happened and I still have that reliable Samsung cell phone to this day, with only $15 per month for service. If it works, don't fix it! On another note, those modern digital voice recorders could also do the job that I have proposed. I need a new one anyway, since my old one finally crapped out after more than 10 years.
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