That $1,000 Bourbon You Bought May Be a Phony


“I saw one collection that was in its entirety fake, and it had all been gathered 20 to 30 years ago,” she stated. “There are some really well-known fakes that keep popping up.”

Reliable statistics on the dimensions of the issue are laborious to come back by. Ms. Graham-Yooll dismissed as hyperbolic a 2018 examine claiming that as much as one-third of all uncommon single-malt bottles have been faux. But she conceded that fakery is a sizable drawback, and rising worse.

There is not any scarcity of anecdotes just like the encounter at Acker. In 2017 a Swiss lodge drew discover for promoting the world’s costliest dram to a Chinese vacationer. Subsequent evaluation of the liquid, which was presupposed to be a single-malt Scotch made by the Macallan distillery in 1878, confirmed that it was a blended Scotch made someday after 1970.

Like the Acker bottle, the faux Macallan had flaws apparent to an knowledgeable eye: the flawed cork, trendy glass. In half as a result of the sector of counterfeiting is so new, Mr. Herz stated, it’s not laborious to identify counterfeits — drip stains on a paper label, for instance, are a good indication that the bottle has been used earlier than.

“Most people are lazy and impatient,” he stated.

The whiskey commerce has but to see its model of Rudy Kurniawan, the prolific, extremely expert counterfeiter whose 2013 conviction for making and promoting tens of millions of {dollars}’ value of exactly detailed faux Burgundy and California Cabernet rocked the wine world.

But it could be solely a matter of time. Experts say they’ve seen a rise within the high quality of counterfeits; Mr. Herz suspects that at the least a few counterfeiters have inside connections at Kentucky distilleries, permitting them to construct faux bottles from scratch, with pristine labels and expertly crafted closures.

A cottage business has popped up in response, particularly in Britain, promising high-tech countermeasures like through-the-glass chemical evaluation, which permits sellers and collectors to evaluate a bottle’s authenticity with out having to open it. But these are nonetheless in growth, and years away from widespread use.

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