Whisky Articles

Fake 1878 Macallan Off By About 93 Years…And Not A Single Malt


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Remember that $10,000 shot of 1878 Macallan purchased by a Chinese millionaire this summer? Fake. Not only was the age statement fake but so was the composition.

In July, Chinese millionaire Zhang Wei was visiting the Devil’s Place whisky bar at the Waldhaus Am See hotel in St. Moritz, Switzerland, when he spotted an unopened bottle labeled as an 1878 Macallan single malt, and promptly asked to purchase a shot of the supposed 139-year old whisky.

At first, hotel manager Sandro Bernasconi refused, telling Zhang that it was a bottle that his father had purchased 25 years prior and that it was not for sale. After Zhang remained persistent, Bernasconi called his father who gave his blessing for the sale of a shot of the whisky to Zhang.

However, after some whisky industry observers spotted some discrepancies in the bottle’s cork and label, the hotel called in analysts from Scotland-based Rare Whisky 101 to verify the authenticity of the alleged 1878 Macallan single malt.

Turns out that RW101’s analysis found that it was almost certainly not distilled before 1970 – and further carbon dating tests conducted by researchers from the University of Oxford suggested a 95% probability that the spirit was created between 1970 and 1972. Yet further lab tests conducted by alcohol analysts Tatlock and Thomson indicated that it was not even a single malt and was instead, probably a blended Scotch, comprising 60% malt and 40% grain.

The hotel has accepted RW101’s findings and fully reimbursed Zhang.

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