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It?s now possible to detect counterfeit whisky without opening the bottle

the University of St. Andrews
Rare Whisky
the University of Glasgow
the University of Tennessee's
Institute of Agriculture
the Lincoln County Process
the Journal of Agricultural Chemistry
The Scotch Whisky Research Institute
Analytical Methods
the Ars Orbital Transmission
CNMN Collection WIRED Media Group
Condé Nast

Jennifer Ouellette
Sep 17
David Robertson
Alasdair Clark
Glen Marnoch
Allison Gasparini
Holly Fleming

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St. Andrews


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The New York Times
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Good news: physicists at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland have figured out how to test the authenticity of bottles of fine Scotch whisky using laser light, without ever having to open the bottles. This artificial tongue can make the callTen of those fakes were supposed to be single-malt scotches from 1900 or earlier, prompting Rare Whisky 101 cofounder David Robertson to publicly declare, "It is our genuine belief that every purported pre-1900 bottle should be assumed fake until proven genuine, certainly if the bottle claims to be a single malt Scotch whisky." There's also an influx of counterfeit cheaper whiskies seeping into the markets, which could pose an even greater challenge, albeit less of a headline-grabbing one.That's what prompted Alasdair Clark of the University of Glasgow to develop an artificial "tongue" capable of distinguishing between different brands of whisky. (Fresh-make distillate for Tennessee whiskey undergoes an extra filtration step prior to barreling called the Lincoln County Process, aka "charcoal leaching.") They just published their full results, characterizing the whole process, in the Journal of Agricultural Chemistry earlier this month.Food scientists and chemists are also interested in using spectroscopy to identify the chemical compounds inside a whisky bottle. The Scotch Whisky Research Institute (SWSRI) in Edinburgh, Scotland, is experimenting with a portable spectrometer that is sufficiently user-friendly to enable workers to measure trace sugar levels (one key characteristic for verifying provenance) with minimal training, as well as distinguishing between whiskies based on other chemical characteristics.The challenge in applying such techniques to whisky is that the glass bottles themselves produce a large spectral signal, making it difficult to discern the chemical fingerprint of interest (that of the spirit inside).

As said here by Jennifer Ouellette