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Bringing back liquor in a suitcase

Does anyone have any experience with the various sleeves sold that are supposed to protect bottled liquids from breakage, as well as containing the liquid if they do break or leak? I don't want to think about the mess and expense if some single malt scotch breaks in our luggage.

Thanks,
Mary

Posted by
21709 posts

We have used them but not been tested as all bottles have survived. The plastic looks tough and obviously the liquid would be contained unless the broken glass would cut the bag. But my estimation is that cutting the bag would be hard to do.

Posted by
340 posts

Thanks for the feedback Frank. In the past we've just relied on putting the bottles in the middle of the suitcase and wrapped clothes around them, but I know that was tempting fate.

What product/brand of sleeve did you use?

Posted by
2018 posts

Have brought back several bottles of wine and even a bottle of scotch one time. Never had a problem with any of the bottle sleeves we've used. The bottom closures work extremely well. As a matter of fact, they are difficult to cut open even with scissors once we get them home!

Posted by
340 posts

Thanks Andi.

I'm looking at a couple of different brands that say they are reusable, and with price points from inexpensive up to "they want how much". What brands have you tried?

Posted by
21709 posts

We use Bottle Armor. We bought them on sale at one of the travel stores for 50% around Christmas which made them very reasonable. Until a few years ago we always packed in the soft-side, check luggage and never had trouble - until we lost a cordial - very sweet and sticky. It was padded and the two bottles on either side were fine. It was taped into a plastic bag that contained the glass and fruit in the bottle but not the liquid. When we picked up the bag for US customs we knew we had a problem. The entire back side of the bag was sticky and had an sweet, alcoholic smell. When we reconstructed how we think it might have broken we concluded the bag had to laying on its back and something with a hard, pointed, edge had to hit the bag dead center for it busted only the center bottle. In typical fashion we had packed all of our dirty underwear, socks on the bottom of the bag, the bottles in the middle and good cloths, etc., on top. All of the underwear was soaked with a red tint but the good clothes on top were fine. Some of that underwear still has a pink cast these days.

Don't understand the comment about having to cut open the bag. Should not be necessary. Our bags have a heavy double zip lock style of closing that is a bit difficult to get closed and then a folding, velcro flap that folds over the zip lock.

Posted by
6627 posts

We've used Wineskins. No problems. Have not tried to reuse, but I think you would need duct tape to reseal. Sharp objects seem to be main threat, not so much the handling of bags.

Posted by
340 posts

Frank, Magellan's Bottle Armor was what had been recommended to me, but it is no longer available. What Magellan's is selling now requires inflation which means it takes up more room. So hold on to the ones you have:-)

Stan, I'll take a look at Wineskins.

Thanks again, Mary

Posted by
340 posts

Thanks for the link Laura. Looks pretty good.

Posted by
21709 posts

Read the negative postings on jetbags. The problems with all of these bags is that you don't know how well they work until you have a breakage. It is unfortunate that the armor bag has been discontinued beside the design looked like it would work. I am not sure I like the idea of absorbing the liquid rather than containing it.

Posted by
4688 posts

I was curious about the negative reviews Frank pointed out, but unfortunately none of them indicated that the bottle actually broke. In theory it should both absorb and contain, but it is just plastic so it could rip if it came into contact with something sharp. I can't comment on durability because I've only used it a couple of times. I've never transported more than one bottle and I always put a lot of padding (clothes) around it so I haven't had any issue with ripping. Mary, you could also just go with a very large ziploc bag and a diaper because that is basically what it is.

the bottle armor does look more durable. It is too bad the don't sell it anymore.

Posted by
21709 posts

I am sorry. The negative comments were from Amazon.com. A couple of bottles had broken and the diaper had not caught everything.

Posted by
2018 posts

We have only used the Wineskin brand. They are super sticky at the wide end fold-over bottom, which is why I have had to cut them open. Yes, they are that sticky (and secure)! I do pack lots of soft stuff around the bottles.

Posted by
16883 posts

I f you have them, use them, but I would also place bottles in the center of luggage with as much clothing wrapped around as possible. Your bag could end up at the bottom of a pile. Do declare all liquor, even if you want to bring more than the duty-free limit, as customs officers don't often like to do the paperwork to charge you more tax.

Posted by
355 posts

I just go to a store in Europe and purchased bubble wrap and duct tape. Then I place the wrapped bottle in one of the many plastic bags that I have received while shopping and place it in the middle of my suitcase. I have never had a problem.

Posted by
10344 posts

Look at the bright side: if you make the wrong decision on this one, you will have the best smelling clothes around!

Posted by
5849 posts

I have had really good luck just wrapping the bottles in clothes and packing in the center of the bag. However, I do not think that you can compare wine shipping with packing bottles of scotch. Wine bottles are built for pressure (well most) and have thick walls, punts or dimples in the bottom, and sealed tops. Scotch bottles are thinner and more subject to breakage. For those bottles, I would look to some type of hard wall container, many come in essentially cardboard tubes, or find some type of styrofoam to absorb shock or impact, My wife also uses a hardside roller suitcase, so we also pack delicate bottles in that. Aside from that, your main concern is just avoiding the breakage, the resulting liquid really is less of a concern.

Posted by
21709 posts

Everyone has good luck until they break the first one. And it can happen no matter how careful you are. You have to consider what the downside risk is if the bottle breaks. What will the liquid damage?

Posted by
340 posts

Thanks to everyone for their comments and suggestions. I'm going to get the "Wine Safeguard Reusable Bottle Protector *2-Pack" that is listed on Amazon.com. I checked with the friend who originally recommended the Magellans Bottle Armor to me, and he said it's the same product with a different name. He's used his for years and never had any breakage or leaks (he's actually in Italy right now with 3 of the bags).

But no matter how good something sounds, you still have to use good sense - like putting any bottles in the middle of your suitcase surrounded by clothes and not next to each other. Just for added piece of mind I think I'll put each one inside the bottle bag, and then inside a large ziplock freezer bag. My husband loves a good peaty Scotch, but Laphroaig scented luggage and clothes would be a real mess, not to mention expensive.

And yes Laura, I always declare every bottle I bring back and never had to pay for that extra bottle I couldn't resist at the duty-free shop.