Unique, rare whiskey is worth the high price tag—at least that’s what rising prices of Pappy Van Winkle and other scarce spirits seem to indicate. But with the increase in fraud throughout the booze industry, how can you be sure that what you’re drinking is actually what the bottle promises?
Zhang Wei, a 36-year-old author from Beijing, had this experience recently when he paid about $10,500 for a pour of what he thought was 1878 Macallan single-malt whisky at a hotel in Switzerland. The unopened bottle, if real, would have been valued at more than $300,000.
Suspicions arose when experts noticed discrepancies on the bottle’s label. Wei has since been fully reimbursed for his 2-centiliter shot, which after testing revealed itself to be a whiskey produced around 1970.