A Macallan 1878 single malt Scotch, sold to Chinese martial art fantasy novelist Zhang Wei, at The Waldhaus Hotel Am See in St Moritz, Switzerland, at an eye watering CHF 9,999 (€8550 / £7,650) for a single dram, has been exposed as a fake.
Bought by the hotel at auction 25 years ago, they were originally reluctant to open what they thought was an incredibly rare bottle of the 139 year old whisky. Persuaded by the multimillionaire author to do so, Zhang described the experience on Weibo, merely saying that it “had a good taste.” adding, “It’s not just the taste, but also history."
Keen whisky fans viewing the photograph on his blog, pointed out discrepancies in the bottle’s label and cork and so the hotel offered to have the whisky tested.
They called in Rare Whisky 101, a whisky valuation company based in Dunfermline. Their tests concluded that the bottle was indeed fake and had been filled with a blended whisky, dating back to 1970, almost 100 years younger than the Macallan both The Waldhaus and Wei thought they had purchased.
More tests by Tatlock and Thomson showed the whisky was probably a blend of 60% malt and 40% grain so was not even a single malt.
Using carbon dating, researchers at the University of Oxford confirmed the label and cork also dated back to the early 1970s.
The owners of the hotel flew to China to reimburse Zhang