The pop of a Portuguese cork … no sound is quite like it
Despite its many uses, for centuries the most faithful ambassador of cork to the world has been & remains the natural cork stopper, traditionally & most commonly associated with wine. With gin only some chose to use natural cork but the constant remains that the noise that cork makes when pulled out of a bottle, is next to none.
Cork bottle stoppers have been found in Egyptian tombs dating back thousands of years. In the 1st century AD the Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder wrote of the value of the cork oak as a ‘symbol of liberty & honour’- at Daffy’s we stand firmly by that mantra!
Portugal was a pioneer in environmental legislation with the first agrarian laws protecting cork forests being passed in 1209, with the king passing a law 70 years later that remains significant to this day – he banned the felling of cork oaks in Alcacovas. The cork trees is one of the few trees that flourishes once its bark has been removed.
In Portugal (the source of Daffy’s corks), cork oak forests are referred to as the lungs of the environment. Indigenous cork oaks thrive in harsh & inhospitable conditions. The roots retain rainwater, forming vital watersheds & absorb nutrients from the depths of the earth, return them through the leaves, & create a natural fertiliser. The landscapes where they grow are one of the best examples of balanced conservation & development anywhere in the world. What would otherwise be a barren landscape becomes one of the richest ecosystems in existence in terms of biodiversity – home to a huge variety of flora & fauna. One particular tree nicknamed “The Whistler” because of the many singing birds attracted to it is said to be 212 years old. It is estimated that the tree has already produced 1,000,00 natural cork stoppers, and continues to thrive.
It is the cork stopper that ensures the maintenance of the cork oak forest and, as a result, the possibility for hundreds of populations to continue to live & work in arid & semi-arid areas. In Portugal the forests provide 60,000 jobs & $1 billion in annual export. Without it their already shaky economy would become even shakier. They are the highest paid agricultural workers in the world, are incredibly well looked after by their employers to ensure that they harvest with due regard for the trees. In short they and their skills are valued.
Natural cork has a much smaller carbon footprint than its synthetic competitors, who, according to a study by PwC release 10-24 times as much greenhouse gas over their life cycles & require up to 5 times as much energy to produce. This in itself would be a strong argument for its use but at Daffy’s the fact that it is light yet impermeable to liquids & gases, remains elastic & compressible, is an excellent insulator, fireproof & resistant to abrasion.. and critically.. sounds amazing.. means that the quality of our gin remains outstanding.
Cork oak forests are a perfect example of the balance between preserving the environment & sustainable development. They are the foundations of an economy of the future. In Portugal 2 new cork oaks are planted for each old cork oak. If this continues, when they reach the age of the Whistler tree they will have made a fundamental contribution to the vitality of the planet’s ecosystem, while helping to maintain thousands of jobs, keeping people on their land as they produce many many more cork stoppers.