The Most Expensive Shot Of Whiskey Was A Fake

Most Expensve Whiskey
Most Expensve Whiskey shot

The Most Expensive Shot Of Whiskey Was A Fake

A dram of vintage Scotch bought by a Chinese millionaire in a Swiss hotel bar for £7,600 was a fake, laboratory tests have concluded.

Zhang Wei, 36, from Beijing – one of China’s highest-earning online writers – had paid just under 10,000 Swiss francs (£7,600, $10,050) for the single-shot while visiting the hotel’s Devil’s Place whisky bar in July.

Mr. Zhang, a writer of martial arts fantasy novels under the pen name Tang Jia San Shao, earned the equivalent of about $16.8m in 2015, according to China Daily.

While on vacation with his grandmother at the Swiss hotel, he purchased the dram, which stocks 2,500 different whiskies.

The suspicion about the spirit’s provenance surfaced soon after the purchase when whisky industry experts spotted discrepancies in the bottle’s cork and label upon viewing the images and reading local newspaper articles.

Experts from Scotland were called in by the Waldhaus Am See hotel in St Moritz after the authenticity of The Macallan 1878 was called into question. 

After examination, it was stated to have a very low probability of being distilled before 1970.

That prompted the Waldhaus to send a sample to Dunfermline-based specialists Rare Whisky 101 (RW101) for analysis.

When researchers from the University of Oxford carried out further carbon dating tests, it was found that there was a 95% probability that the spirit was created between 1970 and 1972.

Most Expensive Shot Macallan 1878

Further lab tests by Fife-based alcohol analysts Tatlock and Thomson showed that its composition was most likely a blend of blended Scotch, comprising 60% malt and 40% grain – ruling it out as a single malt.

RW101 lab stated “the tests have shown” that the bottle was “almost worthless as a collector’s item.”

Had the bottle been genuine, it would have carried a bar value of about 300,000 Swiss francs (£227,000).

The Hotels Take


Waldhaus manager Sandro Bernasconi told BBC Scotland that the hotel had no idea the bottle was a fake. He said: “My father bought the bottle of Macallan 25 years ago, when he was manager of this hotel, and it had not been opened.

“When Mr. Zhang asked if he could try some, we told him it wasn’t for sale. When he said he really wanted to try it, I called my father, who told me we could wait another 20 years for a customer like that, so we should sell it.

“Mr. Zhang and I then opened the bottle together and drank some of it.”

Mr. Bernasconi broke the bad news to Mr. Zhang when he flew out to China to reimburse him recently.

He added: “When I showed him the results, he was not angry – he thanked me for the hotel’s honesty and said his experience in Switzerland had been good.

“When it comes to selling our customers some of the world’s rarest and oldest whiskies, we felt our duty to ensure that our stock is 100% authentic.

“That’s why we called in RW101.

The Fallout

“The result has been a big shock to the system, and we are delighted to have repaid our customer in full as a gesture of goodwill.”

RW101 co-founder David Robertson said: “The Waldhaus team did exactly the right thing by trying to authenticate this whisky.

“We would implore that others in the market do what they can to identify any rogue bottles.

“The more intelligence we can provide, the greater the chance we have to defeat the fakers and fraudsters who seek to dupe the unsuspecting rare whisky consumer.”

It is believed to be the largest sum ever paid for a poured dram of Scotch.

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