Tests conducted by the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Center of 55 bottles of rare whiskey found at least a third of them to be fake, the BBC reports. The testing was commissioned by Scottish broker Rare Whisky 101, which is concerned about the “proliferation of fake whiskey.”
They selected their sample of highly sought after Scotch through auctions, retailers, and private collections. After obtaining all the whiskies, researchers used radiocarbon dating techniques to determine whether or not the liquor was as old as it had been marketed. Twenty-one of the bottles were not.
According to Food & Wine, Rare Whisky 101 believes the 21 fake bottles still would’ve gone for about $800,000 in some markets. They also believe that there’s about $52 million of so-called rare Scotch on the market right now that is likely fake.
Co-founder of Rare Whisky 101 David Robertson told the BBC:
That’s probably stemming from the fact that every bottle of pre-1900 malt they tested was proven to be not nearly as old as advertised. Two of the most notable examples of this were a highly prized Ardbeg 1885 and a “Thorne’s Heritage early 20th Century blended whiskey.”
Should you be interested in learning more about the carbon dating technique used, the BBC gets into it in more detail here.
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