Lots of Fake Whisky

Last July I posted about how radioactive fallout can be used to authenticate art. Isotopes released into the environment from nuclear bombs provide a way of determining if a work of art dates from before or after 1945. Apparently a similar process can be used to authenticate whisky, and experts are discovering that the whisky market is flooded with fakes. Researchers at the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit say, "So far there have probably been more fakes among the samples we've tested than real examples of old whisky." [Telegraph]


Posted on Thu May 07, 2009


Are we talking here about whisky that was made before 1945? Seriously, how much of that can still be around, 65 (or more) years later?

To phrase it another way, if the whisky was any good to begin with, wouldn't somebody have drunk it by now?

The idea of old paintings is much more plausible, because they are neither perishable nor consumable, though of course they do get burned, slashed, crushed in earthquakes, thrown out with the garbage, etc.

There, are of course, those auctions of centuries-old bottles of wine for huge prices, but the bidders are fools. Only some wines improve with age, and those only to a certain point. After that, they start to go downhill. Any wine 100 years old or more is going to taste pretty much like mildew.
Posted by Big Gary  on  Fri May 08, 2009  at  05:19 PM
I'm reminded of the folks who brought up from a sunken Roman (?) galley some wine amphorae that were thousands of years old. It was apparently incredibly vile tasting, having basically turned into antiquated vinegar. I'm not sure what Scotch will turn into evntually, but probably nothing you'd want to drink.
Posted by Accipiter  on  Fri May 08, 2009  at  11:15 PM
When I was 18 or so, me and some friends were in an old farm. Which was from the grandfather of one of them and he was to take over to put into action again. The house was left just after the civil war (Spain, '36-'39) and was like walking on a set for a horromovie. Beds made. Old food in the kitchen. Paintings covered in dust etc.
And... we found a very very very old bottle of unopened whiskey. When bottled a 50 years ago it was already 12 years old.
It was superb. Smooth. Great taste. Dark in color. And it did not make you so much as drunk, but high.
We nursed our treasure bottle and we only drank from it on saterdays.
We still talk about that whiskey.
Posted by Unfairly Balanced  in  Earth  on  Sat May 09, 2009  at  05:43 AM
Beasjt, I don't doubt that that was very good whisky, but I think it must have been good whisky when it was bottled. In other words, it wasn't good just because it was old.

Incidentally, whisky fans say that only aging in the barrel contributes to the quality of the whisky. Once it's in a bottle, it probably won't get worse (if it's stored in a dark and fairly cool place), but it won't get better, either.

Wine and beer are much more perishable than whisky because they have a lower alcohol conent.
Posted by Big Gary  on  Sun May 10, 2009  at  05:35 PM
Yeah, I think that a good bit of the whole quality-improving aging process involves the wood that the barrels or casks are made from; oak provides one flavour, pine another, and so on. In a glass bottle, there shouldn't be much coming into the drink from the glass. So it's just the drink itself sitting there aging with only what's already in it. It might break down a bit over time, but you're not adding anything to it.
Posted by Accipiter  on  Sun May 10, 2009  at  06:16 PM
Interesting comments.

Me and two friends went walking up our local mountain. In the middle of nowhere there were all these people sitting on a quite large rock outcrop. They said that there was an astral conjunction just due. Being young and sensible we said "Oh, that's nice" and kept on out way.

To our surprise and delight some while later we literally stumbled across a six-pack of beer. It had been there for some while judging from the labels, and some had been opened by the local wild life (little tooth marks in the lids).

Obviously this was a real astral conjunction and we opened one each and drank it. It tasted like the nectar of the gods. But alcohol and altitude and exertion didn't mix so subsequently it was all very head-achy and horrible.

Moral of the story is that "Astral Conjunction found beer" might seem and taste like a good idea but it's not.
Posted by Joel B1  in  Hobart, Tasmania  on  Sun May 17, 2009  at  04:13 AM
Everything have fakes. Why whisky not? 😊
Posted by Kokteyl  on  Wed Mar 10, 2010  at  01:19 PM
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