The world’s most expensive dram was a fake

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

Analysts of Scotland have been called by the Waldhaus Am see hotel in St. Moritz after experts questioned the authenticity of the 2cl shot.

It had been poured from a closed bottle labeled as 1878 Macallan whisky.

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

But the analysis has found that will almost certainly not distilled prior to 1970.

The hotel said that it had accepted the results and refunded the customer.

Zhang Wei, 36, from Beijing – one of China’s highest-earning online writers had paid a little less than 10,000 Swiss francs (£7,600, $10,050) for the single-shot during a visit to the Devil’s Place whisky bar in the month of July.

But the suspicion that the spirit origin that emerged immediately after the purchase, when the whisky industry experts spotted the discrepancies in the bottle, cork, and label newspaper articles.

Sandro Bernasconi

That has pushed the Waldhaus send a sample of the Dunfermline-based specialists in Rare Whisky 101 (RW101) for analysis.

The carbon dating tests have been carried out by researchers from the University of Oxford, has suggested a 95% probability that the spirit was created between 1970 and 1972.

Further laboratory tests by Fife alcohol-based analysts Tatlock and Thomson indicated that it was probably a Scotch, that includes the 60% malt and 40% grain – ruling as a single malt.

RW101 said the tests had shown that the bottle was “almost worthless as a collector’s item”.

He had the bottle was real, it would have carried a bar for a value of about 300,000 Swiss francs (£227,000).

Sandro Bernasconi

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

He bought the dram, while on holiday with her grandmother at the Swiss hotel, the stocks of 2500 different kinds of whisky.

Waldhaus manager Sandro Bernasconi told the BBC Scotland that the hotel had no idea that the bottle was a fake.

He said: “My father bought a bottle of Macallan 25 years ago, when he was the manager of this hotel, which had not been opened.

“When Mr. Zhang asked if he could try some, we told him that was not on sale. When he said that he wanted to try, I called my father who told me we could wait another 20 years for a customer, the only way you should sell.

“Mr. Zhang, and then I opened the bottle and drank a little.”


A few days after the tasting of the whisky, Mr. Zhang posted a message on the Chinese micro-blogging platform Weibo about his experience.

He wrote in Mandarin: “When I came across a fine spirit for more than 100 years ago, there was a big fight inside.

“My grandmother, who accompanied me on this trip was only 82, but the alcohol was 139 years old, the same age my grandmother’s grandmother.

“To answer you all, had a good flavor. Not only the taste but also the history.”

The Hotel Waldhaus Am See

Mr Bernasconi has broken the bad news for Mr. Zhang, when he flew to China to repay recent.

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

“When it comes to selling our customers some of the rarest and oldest whiskies, it was our duty to ensure that the material is 100% authentic and the real deal.

“That’s why we called in RW101.

“The result was a big shock to the system, and we are pleased to have repaid our customers in full as a gesture of good will”.

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

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

“The more intelligence we can provide, the greater the chance we have to defeat the counterfeiters and scammers who try to trick the unsuspecting rare whisky consumer.”