A bottle of 1878 Macallan which was being sold for $13,000 per 20ml has been confirmed as a fake.
The bottle was in the Swiss hotel Waldhaus Am See, but doubts were raised once millionaire Chinese writer Zhang Wei purchased a 20ml dram and posted photos online.
A sample was sent off to whisky investment analysts Rare Whisky 101, who have now determined the whisky was likely a 1970 vintage and “almost worthless as a collector’s item.”
Had it been legitimate, it would have been worth around $450,000 to the bar if sold by the pour.
The hotel’s manager Sandro Bernasoni told the BBC, “My father bought the bottle of Macallan 25 years ago, when he was manager of this hotel, and it had not been opened.
“When Mr Zhang asked if he could try some, we told him it wasn’t for sale. When he said he really wanted to try it, I called my father who told me we could wait another 20 years for a customer like that so we should sell it.”
Bernasoni recently flew to China to reimburse Zhang, one of the country’s top online martial arts and fantasy writers, once it had been confirmed as a fake.
David Robertson of Rare Whisky 1010 said, “The more intelligence we can provide, the greater the chance we have to defeat the fakers and fraudsters who seek to dupe the unsuspecting rare whisky consumer.”
The whisky’s lack of authenticity was determined by carbon dating at the University Of Oxford, which gave the spirit a 95 percent chance of being distilled between 1970 and 1972. Alcohol analysts Tatlock & Thomson then declared it was likely a blend as well, with 60 percent malt and 40 percent grain.
Macallan is one of Scotland’s most famous distilleries and regularly dominates auctions. It also has a history of fakes, and a large number of ‘too good to be true’ bottles appeared on the market in the ‘90s and ‘00s.
The distillery themselves have pulled bottles from their public display for fear they are fakes.
Steps are being taken to ensure fakes are weeded out of the whisky market, and Ardnamurchan recently announced they would be implementing Blockchain technology for their releases.
Vintage bottles, however, continue to be a minefield for investors.