Close Menu

Macallan dram priced $10,000 outed as a fake

One of the world’s most expensive Scotch whisky drams, a Macallan 1878 costing £7,700 (US$10,000), has been exposed as a fake.

David Robertson co-founder of RW101

Following an investigation that involved a series of forensic tests by Rare Whisky 101 (RW101), the whisky was deemed to be “worthless” as a collector’s item since it dates back to no earlier than 1970.

The whisky was being sold atThe Waldhaus Hotel Am See in St Moritz, Switzerland.

Earlier this year, the hotel grabbed headlines after selling a dram of Macallan 1878 to a Chinese consumer for 9,999 Swiss francs (£7,700/US$10,000) – thought to be the highest amount ever paid for a single glass of whisky. If it were authentic, the bottle’s value would sit at £230,000 (US$300,000).

RW101 conducted the investigation in collaboration with Sandro Bernasconi, Waldhaus Am See Hotel manager and bar manager at Devils Place, who has flown to Asia to repay the duped customer in full.

Whisky consultancy and brokerage RW101 was called in by the hotel’s owner to assess the authenticity of the product following its high profile sale and subsequent questions from industry experts.

RW101 carried out a series of forensic tests on the liquid to ascertain its composition, and also sent the sample to the University of Oxford for a carbon dating test to verify the year of distillation.

All tests presented the conclusion that the whisky is a “modern fake”, with a 95% probability that the liquid was created between 1970 and 1972.

The whisky, initially thought to be single malt, was also found to be “most likely” a blend of 60% malt and 40% grain, according to research from scientific service provider Tatlock and Thomson.

“Over the past year, we have been invited by numerous bottle owners and auction houses to assess suspicious bottles,” said David Robertson, RW101 co-founder.

“Indeed, we’ve noticed an increasing number of old, rare archive or antique bottles coming to market at auction, and it’s difficult to know how prevalent this problem is.

“We would implore that others in the market do what they can to identify any rogue bottles. 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.”

RW101 is “working closely” with The Macallan owner, Edrington on its initiatives to tackle fake whisky.

“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,” added Ken Grier, creative director for The Macallan.

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No