Featured: The Telegraph Magazine - The secret world of high-end whisky fraud

13 Jul 2023

The Telegraph's Tim Moore, sat down with a number of experts including Charles Beamish and Sukhinder Singh to discuss how to avoid fakes & frauds while navigating the world of high-end whisky.

Since 2012, the Knight Frank rare-whisky index, a tracker based on auction prices of Scottish single malts, has soared by almost 400%. Sotheby’s recorded about £23 million of rare-spirit sales in 2022, up from just £3 million in 2017 – an increase almost entirely attributable to whisky. And in the year to April, private client whisky adviser Beamish International almost doubled its gross sales to £26 million.

... Following the Swiss-hotel scandal, in 2018 Rare Whisky 101 sent 55 bottles of purportedly super-rare vintage Scotch for laboratory testing. The results were dramatic: 21 were deemed fake, including all 10 ‘pre-1900’ bottles. Collectors began to wonder if they could ever again take any antique bottle at face value. But five years on, MacLean doubts that alarming proportion is an accurate reflection of the market: hard-bitten collectors are now more suspicious and discerning. ‘Any bottle over £5,000 ought to attract serious scrutiny,’ says Beamish. ‘There’s a box-ticking exercise: you look at the colour, the top of the seal, the label, the Nll level, and compare them all with a known real bottle.'


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