How To Spot A Fake Whisky

Collecting rare whisky is big business. What was until recently an esoteric niche populated by a small group of enthusiasts has become a global phenomenon, with a multi-million-dollar auction market and collectors competing fiercely for the most sought-after bottles.

As anyone familiar with the fine wine auction scene will know, it isn’t long before such a buoyant market attracts the unscrupulous – but there is nothing new about fake whisky, with some bogus bottles having been around for several decades.

Perhaps the most infamous era came in the 1990s and early 2000s, when a stream of bottles from the late 19th and early 20th centuries emerged, mostly from Italy. There were famous names – Macallan, Bowmore, Laphroaig – and other, almost mythical, distilleries that had long since closed down. Most, it turned out, were entirely bogus.


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