Bung and bung cloth

Pic of the Month: Bung and Bung Cloth

Bung and bung cloth in a disused whisky cask at the Coleburn Distillery.

Bung and bung cloth
Bung and bung cloth in a disused whisky cask
(Image Copyright Johann Brandstaetter, for terms image use please click here)

Traditionally and up to the 1980s whisky casks were closed with soft bungs, stoppers made from cork. Since they were not only prone to leakage, but also made it very easy to nick some of the contents from the casks, they have been gradually replaced by hard bungs made from oak or poplar.

A hard bung is best hammered in with the grain in parallel to the grain of the stave to avoid cracking the bung.

The bung (stopper) in the picture above is made from poplar wood which is not only cheaper but also more malleable so it makes a better seal. Removing a hard bung makes a lot of noise, so stealing whisky (with the help of a ‘dog’, a small bottle and an attached string) is now much harder.

The bung cloth is made from hessian and is sometimes used to provide a tighter seal or to make a bung fit that is slightly too small for the bung hole.

Image details:

  • Panasonic GX7 with 14-42mm kit lens (set at 30mm)
  • ISO 200, 1/800 s, f/6.3
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