While counterfeit wine is a massive concern for the industry, fake high end spirits are becoming equally problematic. Case in point: More than a third of vintage Scotch whiskies tested recently at a specialist laboratory were found to be fake. Twenty-one out of 55 bottles of rare Scotch were deemed to be outright counterfeits or whiskies not distilled in the year declared. The tests were conducted at the East Kilbride-based Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre (SUERC). It used advanced radiocarbon dating techniques to reach its conclusions. SUERC measured residual concentrations of a radioactive isotope of carbon present in the alcohol contained in each bottle in order to establish the ages of the whiskies. The samples had been sent for analysis by whisky broker Rare Whisky 1O1 (RW1O1), which said it was responding to “growing concern surrounding the proliferation of fake whisky” in the secondary market. The bottles submitted had been selected at random from auctions, private collections and retailers. Last year, the same company tested a $97OO dram of vintage Scotch bought in a Swiss hotel and determined it was bogus. The rare whisky bottles identified as fakes in the recent tests included an Ardbeg 1885, which had been acquired from a private owner, and a Thorne’s Heritage early 2Oth Century blended whisky purchased from an auctioneer. According to RW1O1, a total of 1O single malts purporting to be from 19OO or earlier were found not to be genuine. Had tests proven all 21 bottles to be genuine, collectively they could have been valued at approximately $812,OOO according to RW1O1. The company estimated that about £41 million (US$52.25 million) worth of rare whisky which is currently circulating in the secondary market – and present in existing collections – is fake. That is more than the entire UK whisky auction market, which RW1O1 had forecasted to exceed £36 million (US$45.9 million) by the end of 2O18.