A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
“Build a man a fire and he’ll be warm for a night…” (joke) (3/23)
“Why are women and children evacuated first?” (joke) (3/23)
“I’ll have a rum and coke” (joke) (3/23)
“I’ve had so much coffee today I can see noises” (3/23)
“The most dangerous drinking game is seeing how long I can go without coffee” (3/23)
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Entry from November 20, 2012
“The quality of a champagne is judged by the amount of noise the cork makes when it is popped”

"The quality of a champagne is judged by the amount of noise the cork makes when it is popped” is a jocular statement about champagne, meaning that the experience of drinking it—the pop of the cork—can be more important than the taste. H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) and George Jean Nathan (1882-1958) wrote in the June 1919 column in the magazine The Smart Set:

“The doctrine that a napkin is always wrapped around a champagne bottle for the purpose of hiding the label, and that the quality of the champagne may be judged by the amount of noise the cork makes when it is popped. ”

The saying often is reprinted under the title “Mencken and Nathan’s Ninth Law of The Average American.”


Google Books
June 1919, The Smart Set, pg. 46:
The American Credo
(...)
6. The doctrine that a napkin is always wrapped around a champagne bottle for the purpose of hiding the label, and that the quality of the champagne may be judged by the amount of noise the cork makes when it is popped.

Google Books
The American Credo:
A Contribution Toward the Interpretation of the National Mind

By George Jean Nathan and Henry Louis Mencken
New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf
1921
Pg. 141:
§208 That a napkin is always wrapped around a champagne bottle for the purpose of hiding the label, and that the quality of the champagne may be judged by the amount of noise the cork makes when it is popped.

2 October 1958, Lowell (MA) Sun, “Sampascoopies” by Charles G. Sampas, pg. 7, col. 3:
I can tell you that it is definitely NOT true that the quality of the champagne can be judged by the amount of noise the cork makes when it is popped.

Google Books
Vintage Humor for Wine Lovers
By Malcolm L. Kushner
Santa Cruz, CA: Malcolm Kushner & Associates
2003
Pg. 109:
“The quality of a champagne is judged by the amount of noise the cork makes when it is popped.”
Unknown

Google Books
Dim Wit:
The Stupidest Quotes of All Time

By Rosemarie Jarski
Berkeley, CA: Ulysses Press
2010
Pg. 389:
The quality of a champagne is judged by the amount of noise the cork makes when it is popped.
Mencken and Nathan’s Ninth Law of the Average America

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Tuesday, November 20, 2012 • Permalink