Whisky Focus - Rare Macallan 1878 Exposed As A Fake

Rare Macallan 1878 Exposed As A Fake

3rd November 2017
Rare Macallan 1878 exposed as a fake, would you recognise it as being a fake whisky, click on the image to see what you think.

The fake Macallan 1978 - Would you recognise it as a fake?A rare bottle of The Macallan 1878, one of the world’s only known bottles of the whisky still in circulation has been officially exposed as a fake following an investigation by Rare Whisky 101 working in partnership with Sandro Bernasconi, Waldhaus Am See Hotel Manager and Bar Manager at Devils Place.

The Waldhaus Hotel Am See in St Moritz hit the headlines earlier this summer after a Chinese customer paid 9,999 Swiss Francs (£7,700) for a glass of the rare Scotch whisky, thought to be the most ever paid for a poured dram of liquid gold. Were the bottle genuine, it would have carried a bar-value of around 300,000 Swiss Francs (£230,000).

Following a series of investigative and forensic tests carried out by RW101, the whisky has been shown to date back no further than 1970, deeming it almost worthless as a collector’s item. Sandro Bernasconi from the Hotel has flown to Asia in the last week to refund the paying customer in full.

One of the world’s leading authorities on rare whisky, RW101 was called in by the hotel owner following publicity surrounding the sale of the dram. The eye-watering price paid for a drop of this seemingly rare vintage caused a stir among a number of experts within the whisky industry who have questioned its authenticity and asked for clarity on what exactly the bottle contains.

A sample of the Macallan 1878 was subsequently collected by the team at RW101, and flown back to the UK for a series of forensic tests and analysis to determine, as best as modern science allows, the precise composition of the liquid. Firstly, and most critically, the liquid was subjected to carbon dating at the University of Oxford to verify the year of distillation.

David Robertson RW101 collecting a sample for testing.

The conclusion from Rare Whisky 101’s investigation is that the whisky is a modern fake. Results from University of Oxford’s Research Laboratory for Archaeology and The History of Art suggested a 95% probability that the liquid was created between 1970 and 1972. Subsequent laboratory tests carried out by Tatlock and Thomson (providers of scientific services to the wine and spirits industry) showed the spirit was most likely a blended Scotch comprised of 60% Malt and 40% Grain.

Ken Grier from The Macallan brand owner, Edrington, commented: “As the leading brand in the fast growing secondary market for rare whiskies, with an estimated 30% share by value, we take this very seriously. We praise the work that our partners, RW101, are doing to bring awareness of any fraud to light. We would urge consumers to buy from reputable sources at all times.”

We always advise purchasing your whisky from reputable specialist online whisky shops such as Master of Malt and The Whisky Exchange

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