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Fake Macallan

Postby MacAndersson » Wed Jan 01, 2003 7:21 pm

Regarding fake Whisky.
In Whisky Magazine No.28 Dave Broom writes apiece called “An old con” in which he writes:

......”Occasionally, however, some could be shown to be fake. Two such bottles were both supposedly from Macallan, one from 1872, the other from 1888 (sold at auction) and purporting to have been bottled by Stephen Smith & Co. Ltd. Once again the labels were remarkably unmarked and also complex. While there was a wine and spirit merchant called Stephen Smith (who did blend and bottle whisky and was at one time the owner of the largest vineyard in Australia), Companies House could find no record of it trading at this time, and trade journals could find no mention of the firm offering bottled, mature malt whisky. Still, it was possible that they had a few casks hidden away and decided to bottle it at a much later date. The label stated that the 1888 whisky was “produced and bottled by Roderick Kemp, Proprietors, Macallan and Talisker Distilleries Ltd”. The 1872, strangely, was “Selected by Proprietor R. Kemp, Macallan-Glenlivet and Talisker Distilleries Ltd”. There was no record of either firm in Companies House. That isn’t particularly surprising. Roderick Kemp had owned (or part-owned) both Macallan and Talisker distilleries, but not at the same time! He sold his interest in Talisker in 1892 and then used the money to buy Macallan. In 1898 Talisker merged with Dailuaine to form Dailuaine-Talisker Distilleries Ltd. At no point did he own both Talisker and Macallan. Kemp was a businessman. He wouldn’t put an illegal company name on his whisky. Neither would he have deviated from standard business practice and changed the name of his firm willy-nilly.”

Now to my concern. In “The definitive guide to buying vintage Macallan” page 92-93 The Macallan 1870 has the same text “Selected by Proprietor R. Kemp, Macallan-Glenlivet and Talisker Distilleries Ltd”.
Raises a few questions doesn’t it? Which one is out on deep water Dave or Macallan?
Or am I the one missing something here?
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Postby Iain » Mon Jan 06, 2003 10:11 am

There is something very fishy going on here. If DB has done his homework correctly, this company Macallan-Glenlivet and Talisker Distilleries Ltd did not exist. Yet MacAndersson says the same "ghost" company name is on the label of the bottle Macallan proposes to auction on the Macallan website, at a reserve price of (deep breath) £8500 sterling!

For a pic of the bottle (I can't make out the company details on the label, so I'm relying on MacA for the details),

see
http://www.themacallan.co.uk/vintages/archive/1870.html

Methinks Sherlock Holmes needs to put on his deerstalker once more - there is skulduggery afoot!
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Postby Iain » Mon Jan 06, 2003 10:34 am

And another thing...

The Macallan website says this of their 1841 Macallan

"Filling whisky into glass was still uncommon in the 1850s, and the Macallan 1841 is one of the oldest surviving whisky bottles in existence"

That's as maybe. It does seem incredible that a bottle of whisky distilled in 1841 has survived in such excellent condition. But I have still more incredible news to share with you! Go to
http://www.barmetro.it/macallan.htm

and you will see yet another bottle of Macallan 1841!!! And many, many more Macallans allegedly bottled in the 19th century, all apparently for sale to collectors in Milano or on offer via the website.

How did all these bottles come to be in Italy? Where have they come from? Is this the source of the Macallan collection now being offered for sale at www.macallan.com? How many of these blessed 19th century Macallans are there in circulation. And how many more are likely to surface in future?
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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Jan 06, 2003 5:52 pm

Hi MacAnderson and Iain,

Here's what I have found in the history files so far. That Roderick Kemp character is quite something I guess. He bought the Talisker Distillery in 1879 from a John Anderson. His partner Grigor Allan bought the Talisker Distillery in 1892, and the distillery submerged in 1898 in Dalluanie-Talisker Distilleries Ltd, established by merger of Dalluanie Glenlivet Distilleries.
The same Roderick Kemp bought the Macallan Distillery in 1892(he went from one distillery to another), and he has worked at the Talisker Distillery(wich was true), and at that time the output was expanded, it became of the subsidiary of Roderick Kemp, and the distillery was rebuild, and changed the name in to Macallan-Glenlivet distilery.
However I can't find any details about the name The Macallan-Glenlivet Talisker distilleries Ltd at the date of 1870's, strange? yes, a con? I don't know, until it's proven that it is a con, but only some other people can prove it weather it is or not. It's not up to us. Is Dave Brooms'article right? I can not say, but I can not say that it's wrong either, simply: we need to know more facts, before we can add our own opinion weather the 1870 is a con or not, simply because of a name on the label that doesn't match for that time???

We have to keep on digging, untill we have hard evidence.....

Slainte,

Erik
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Postby Iain » Tue Jan 07, 2003 10:07 am

Erik wrote

"However I can't find any details about the name The Macallan-Glenlivet Talisker distilleries Ltd at the date of 1870's, strange? yes"

So - you can't find any record of it. And all UK limited liability companies must be registered at Companies House - but DB couldn't find any record of Macallan-Glenlivet and Talisker Distilleries Ltd there either. Strange indeed.

And if it never existed - then who bottled that 1870 Macallan? And when? And why put a non-existent company name on the label?

Why not ask your colleagues at Highland for evidence of the existence of the company? The company secretary will have access to the old records of the Macallan distillery. If M-G & T D Ltd ever existed, they will be able to prove it.

Keep digging Erik!
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Postby Kertie » Tue Jan 07, 2003 2:23 pm

The reason you couldn't find records of Macallan Talisker is, if I have read Dave's piece correctly, is that Kemp NEVER OWNED THE TWO DISTILLERIES AT THE SAME TIME. Why is it that people refuse to believe what appears to be so obvious -- that there is someone, some people out there faking bottles and putting them on the market? Just because your precious Macallan is on the label doesn't make it exempt from fakery. That's as hoplessly naive as saying just because this Rolex watch only cost $7 it must be a bargain. Let's hope the distiller itself realises this. Brigid, have you had any rebuttal of Dav'es comments from Macallan? If not, can we assume they are correct?
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Postby Iain » Tue Jan 07, 2003 3:40 pm

Indeed Kertie. And, if they are correct and no company of that name ever existed, will the 1870 bottle be pulled out of the Macallan on-line auction? Or at least advertised for sale with full details of its "strange" provenance?
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Jan 07, 2003 5:42 pm

Hi Kertie,

You have a point there, and yes I have red the article carefuly, but to make sure, I have checked some things myself(it's not that I doubt in Dave Broom's his story, but this article blows some dust here), and he couldn't owned(according to my info) two distilleries at the same time, in the "steps of the ladder" of history it wasn't possible, but keep in mind that maybe there's a slight chance that some peaces of history are never mentioned, but that must be a very small chance. So in a certain way we can say that he never owned the distilleries at the same time, assuming that all the data we have is correct.

But that still doesn't prove this 1870 Macallan(also shown in the Macallan vintage book) is a possible con. If it was, then The Macallan Distillery has a lot of explaining to do, and I don't think that they are quite fond on that one, so then the Macallan must have something to go on with, wich none of us know, to put such a picture in the book. Does that make any sense??

Well Iain I think that Sherlock Holmes is on the move again!!!

It's a very strange case, I still have a feeling we missing something here, well one these things we missing is sure, and that's the truth.....

So we still have to do some digging to do.

Slainte,

Erik
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Postby MacAndersson » Tue Jan 07, 2003 9:59 pm

The way I see it is that Macallan, being a multinational company with a brand name to look after, should know what it is they are selling. When they offer a product that rare for sale claming to be of Macallan origin it ought to be so. The chance of they missing something so obvious as the wrong company name is to me almost out of the question. On the other hand I have no reason to doubt Dave Broom either. I am sure he has done a thorough investigating before he wrote the article.
Which leaves me right back where I started.
The only party who can sort this out is Macallan. They should be able to explain what is what and also if they have read the article they should be eager to do so. It can not be good having people questioning their credibility.

I am looking forward to see who is right. This could potentially have great repercussion on Macallan. Imagine the headlines if the bottle proves to be a fake. But let’s not jump into conclusions.
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Postby Iain » Wed Jan 08, 2003 10:09 am

According to the Macallan website, Macallan was owned by James Stuart 1868-1892. So that means the 1870 Macallan must have been bottled by Mr Kemp (his name is on the label, alongside the strange company name) as a 22 year old sms, at least.

That would be very unusual for Victorian times, I'm told.
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Postby lexkraai » Wed Jan 08, 2003 1:55 pm

No one is accusing Macallan of any deliberate wrong-doing as they may simply be a victim of forgery themselves. But they must have done at least some research into this bottle (and others). The amount of serious 'problems' with this bottle is mounting to a very worrying level, but Macallan can end all the speculation by simply releasing the results of their analysis. Seems to me that's not too much to ask for a bottle that is meant to fetch such a high price.

Erik, you seem to be closest to the source. Any chance of obtaining a copy of their report (or whatever form it has) for release? That way we can all form our own opinion as to whether this is a fake or not.

Cheers, Lex
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Postby Alfred Barnard » Thu Jan 09, 2003 1:40 am

Gentlemen and Latvian Ladies,

I am much surprised by this fuss over these olden-days bottles. I just wish I could remember having seen them when I visited that most unremarkable Speyside distillery, just like all the other Spey-side distilleries, in 1887. Seven lines - surely the shortest of the lot Sir - with all that whisky Sir, sold to the English Sir! In bulk Sir !

And I'm sure, not an over-ornate and over-designed, or as I'm sure you must say, so twentieth century (or is it the twenty-first now, I do get so confused ?) bottle or label in sight !

AB (a contemporary of the great Sherlock Holmes)
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Postby Ize » Thu Jan 09, 2003 11:02 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Arial, Verdana">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Alfred Barnard:
Gentlemen and Latvian Ladies<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Dear late AB,

with that one line of text you really made my day. I haven't laughed for awhile in here, but I'm not sure if that opens to all. Image

Kippis,
Ize
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Postby Iain » Thu Jan 09, 2003 12:08 pm

I see that both the 1856 and the 1884 Macallans offered for sale on the Macallan website (£10,000 and £7500 stg respectively!!) are both advertised on the label as being bottled by John McWilliam.

I also notice at www.barmetro.it/macallan.htm that the Milan shop has a Macallan 1856, 1886, an 1898, and two other Macallans all bottled by this mysterious Craigellachie bottler, who doesn't appear in any 19th century records I have been able to find - but was clearly very busy producing lots of bottles of vintage Macallan for eager customers!

Funnily enough, Barmetro is also advertising an 1870 Macallan for sale, along with many other Victorian Macs bottled by all manner of people. Indeed, it looks like the very place to supply all your Macallan requirements!
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Postby Kertie » Thu Jan 09, 2003 1:27 pm

The Italians do seem inordinately fond of macallan, don't they? Have any of these old bottles ever appeared in.. I don't know.. scotland perhaps?
or Latvia?
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Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Jan 09, 2003 5:23 pm

Hi folks,

After the question Lex gave me, I went on the Phone with Macallan. They are aware of the situation, and they are digging right now in to their own archives too, just to see "how" and "why" the name R Kemp appears on the labels of The Macallan, at a certain time he not suppost to do Macallan, and the combination of Macallan-Glenlivet Talisker distilleries. So they are on to it right now, and yes they had some correspondence with Dave Broom about it. I can add some points of vieuws here right now, but that's no use at this point.
We simply have to wait right now, and wait until Macallan has finished their research, they will come with a statement, I'm sure of that. Until here you can only guess.

Quotes:
We have to keep on digging, untill we have hard evidence.....

It's a very strange case, I still have a feeling we missing something here, well one these things we missing is sure, and that's the truth.....

So we still have to do some digging to do.

Slainte,

Erik

[This message has been edited by Huurman (edited 09 January 2003).]
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Postby Iain » Thu Jan 09, 2003 5:26 pm

Hurrah! Well done Erik. You can put your spade away now :-)
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Postby Iain » Sun Jan 12, 2003 11:15 am

Still looking for "Vintage" Macallans? Well, here's another place to look - at
http://www.bestwhisky.com/Collection.htm

where there is an 1861 "McWilliam" Macallan, as well an 1856, 1876 and an 1879 Macallans.

Whew! There sure are a lot of old Macallans in Italy!
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Jan 12, 2003 2:43 pm

I believe that Italy is one the best places to find a nice and rare Macallan...

Erik
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Postby Iain » Sun Jan 12, 2003 3:01 pm

Nice perhaps, Erik. But rare? Not in Italy, it seems!

Who knows how many more will turn up there.

Has anyone seen Valentino Zagatti's book? I wonder how many 19th century Macallan bottles he has in his collection.
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Postby Iain » Mon Jan 13, 2003 10:02 am

Pssst... wanna buy even more 19th century Macallans in Italy? Go to
http://www.rarewhisky.com/indice_en.htm

where you will find lots of bottles from weel-kent men of mystery such as John McWilliam and Macallan-Glenlivet and Talisker Distillery Ltd - snip...

N.227 - MACALLAN-GLENLIVET - 1894 - Roderick Kemp Proprietors Macallan and Talisker Distilleries Ltd - 17 yo -
N.228 - MACALLAN-GLENLIVET - 1892 - Roderick Kemp Proprietors Macallan and Talisker Distilleries Ltd - 19 yo -
N.229 - MACALLAN-GLENLIVET - 1887 - Roderick Kemp Proprietors Macallan and Talisker Distilleries Ltd - 24 yo -
N.230 - MACALLAN-GLENLIVET - 1879 - Roderick Kemp Proprietors Macallan and Talisker Distilleries Ltd - 31 yo -
N.231 - MACALLAN - 1897 - R H Thomson & Co -
N.232 - MACALLAN - 1896 - R H Thomson & Co -
N.233 - MACALLAN-GLENLIVET - 1897 - J G Thomson & Co -
N.002 - MACALLAN-GLENLIVET - 1909 - per R.Fenwick Ltd Sunderland - Originale -
N.003 - MACALLAN - 1886 - Jonn Mc.William -
N.004 - MACALLAN - 1884 - Jonn Mc.William -
N.005 - MACALLAN - 1898 - Jonn Mc.William - 1/2 Bottiglia -
N.006 - MACALLAN - 1901 - 1874 - Cask Sample-Originale della distilleria -
N.007 - MACALLAN-GLENLIVET - 1901 - da J.Leslie -
N.008 - MACALLAN-GLENLIVET - 1901 - da J.Leslie -
N.009 - MACALLAN-GLENLIVET - 1890 - Originale della distilleria coppia -
N.010 - MACALLAN - 1851 - 1/2 Bottiglia-Originale della distilleria -
N.013 - MACALLAN - 1886 - John Mc William - Bottiglia di misura e contenuto insolito -
N.014 - MACALLAN - 1856 -
N.015 - MACALLAN - 1860 - 1849 - Cask Sample -
N.016 - MACALLAN-GLENLIVET - per J. Leslie - 15 yo -
N.017 - MACALLAN - 1851 - Originale -
N.025 - MACALLAN - 1951 - Originale -
N.026 - MACALLAN - 1898 - per Stephen Smith & Co. Ltd - Originale -
N.035 - MACALLAN-GLENLIVET - 1911 - per T.Macfarland & Sons Ltd - Riserva speciale -
N.036 - MACALLAN-GLENLIVET - 1919 - per T.Macfarland & Sons td - Riserva speciale -
N.037 - MACALLAN-GLENLIVET - 1922 - per T.Macfarland & Sons Ltd - Riserva speciale -
N.038 - MACALLAN-GLENLIVET - 1927 - per T.Macfarland & Sons Ltd - Riserva speciale -
N.039 - MACALLAN-GLENLIVET - 1911 - per Peter Thomson - Riserva speciale 1/2 bottiglia -
N.115 - MACALLAN-GLENLIVET - 1911 - per Peter Thomson - Riserva speciale -
N.044 - MACALLAN - 1893 - Jhon Euring & Co. Glasgow - 1/2 Bottiglia -
N.048 - MACALLAN - 1893 - Jhon Euring & Co. Glasgow -

So many rare 19th century Macallans in Italy! And I've only just begun looking :-)
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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Jan 13, 2003 5:41 pm

Hi Iain,

Nice site you have dig up at the internet.
Looks very nice, and look at the Roderick Kemp series, wow they seem to have lots of them. Very strange there.....

Slainte,

Erik
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Postby Iain » Tue Jan 14, 2003 10:01 am

Yep - Macallan-Glenlivet and Talisker Distillery(ies?) Ltd may not have existed, but it seems to have bottled a lot of Macallan.
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Postby MacAndersson » Tue Jan 14, 2003 2:11 pm

This is just getting better and better.....
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Jan 14, 2003 5:29 pm

But where will this end???

I hope that The Macallan comes very soon with an answer, but they will take their time, because they will come back with a solid statement.

Keep my fingers crossed,

Erik
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Postby Iain » Wed Jan 15, 2003 10:41 am

The following is snipped from the McTears website re the whisky auction of 17 April 2002. The figure is the price guideline suggested by McTears for each of these McWilliam bottlings.. I believe NS means No Sale (correction, please, if I got that wrong).

MACALLAN-1856

503 The Macallan Rare Reserve-1856
Distilled 1856. From Macallan Distillery. Old Highland, Guaranteed Pure as From The Distillery. Bottled by John McWilliam, Wine Merchant, Craigellachie. Three piece moulded, green coloured glass bottle. Driven cork, plain lead capsule. Level: top of shoulder
1 bottle £4500-5000.NS

MACALLAN-1884

504 The Macallan Rare Reserve-1884
Distilled 1884. From Macallan Distillery. Old Highland, Guaranteed Pure as From The Distillery. Bottled by John McWilliam, Wine Merchant, Craigellachie. Three piece moulded, green coloured glass bottle. Driven cork, plain lead capsule. Level: top of shoulder
1 bottle £4500-5000.NS

MACALLAN-1892

505 The Macallan Rare Reserve-1892
Distilled 1892. From Macallan Distillery. Old Highland, Guaranteed Pure as From The Distillery. Bottled by John McWilliam, Wine Merchant, Craigellachie. Three piece moulded, green coloured glass bottle. Driven cork, plain lead capsule. Level: upper part of shoulder
1 bottle £4500-5000.NS

And here's a report from Nessie's Loch Ness Times. It seems that spottings of John McWilliam's old Macallans are decidedly more frequent than spottings of Nessie!

Rare Whisky
A rare bottle of whisky bottled in Scotland fetched £4025 at auction recently. The Macallan, bottled in 1886, had been expected to sell for £3500-£5500 in the Phillips Scottish Sale in Edinburgh. It was bought by the Craigellachie Hotel of Speyside which is near the former premises of greengrocer and wine merchant John McWilliam who had bottled the whisky. A number of different distillations of the Macallan were bottled by McWilliam between 1856 and 1898 and there are some rare examples in the Macallan Distillery Archive. Craigellachie Hotel's general manager Duncan Elphick said the whisky would be added to the hotel's display. Although the price paid for it works out at £160 a nip, Mr Elphick was determined the bottle would not be opened. He said: "We have managed to bring the bottle back home." A large decanter, reputedly a gift from Queen Victoria to a resident of Aberdeenshire, sold for £3860 - nearly three times its anticipated price.
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Postby Iain » Wed Jan 15, 2003 10:44 am

And there's more - this from the (surprise!) Italian site, Whisky Paradise at http://www.whiskyparadise.com/prodotti.cgi?action=list&tipo=190:

Type: 19th Century Whiskies
Whisky Types
Macallan
Distilled 1856 Bottled by John Mc William
Cl: 75
Macallan
Distilled 1856 Bottled by John Mc William
Cl: 75
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Postby Iain » Wed Jan 15, 2003 4:42 pm

Yet another spotting of an 1856 Macallan. This one is or was from the collection of Sr Montanari of Bologna and on display at Torino (please correct me if I have misinterpreted the Italian text). See
http://www.torinotes.it/Eventi/whisky.htm

Is it a new one? Or are the already-spotted 1856 McWilliam Macallans simply on tour? I will try to find out!
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Postby Rudolph Hucker » Wed Jan 15, 2003 5:59 pm

Yet another Macallan 1856 on an Italian website - this one has James Davison as the proprietor, and is part of Sr Felloni's collection at space.tin.it

Cheers

Rudolph
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Postby Iain » Thu Jan 16, 2003 10:31 am

From www.travelscotland.co.uk - an(other?) 1856 and an 1861 and an 1871, currently on display at the distillery it seems...


A DRAM GOOD BUY

A collection of rare Scottish malt whiskies has been bought by an English businessman for £200,000 - or £500 a dram!

Norman Shelley bought the collection of 76 bottles from the Macallan distillery near Elgin where he will leave most of the bottles for inclusion in a display in the visitor centre, taking only a few home to Turkey with him.

The oldest bottle in the collection is labelled 1856 and there are others from 1861, 1874, 1926 and 1940. One 60 year old bottle is valued at £30,000 alone.

Mr Shelley said he is a confirmed Macallan enthusiast and according to Macallan's master distiller David Robertson his collection is the most valuable single collection known.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Jan 16, 2003 5:25 pm

Hi,

We must not loose our concentration on this matter. It's still the editions of this combination: R.Kemp Macallan-Glenlivet and Talisker Distilleries Ltd. we are investigating here.
The others like John McWilliams for example, might have bottled some stuff, as an independend merchand, and as therefor we can not say it is the real thing or not.
It is just the R.Kemp editions from the 1870's that gave us a lot of worries....

But it seems that there's a lot of old(1800's) Macallan left, maybe I'll go to the nearest Tesco's(Sainsbury's nowadays)and get me some old Macallan...

Cheers,

Erik
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Postby westcoastboy » Thu Jan 16, 2003 11:26 pm

Huurman,

Give it up baby - you don't need to be an apologist for these people!

Though I guess if you did buy it from a supermarket it might taste strangely like the stuff they have in all these so-called 'old' bottles. Sherry-soaked whisky must have been so popular in the 1840s-1870s - not (from what I have read)!

But then has anyone asked them to test the spirit? Not all this 'master distiller noses' nonsense, but science! It can be dated! Did they do that with the 1874 (or was it the 1875 - there seem to be so many?).

Having read the Dave Broom WM article, and all this mind-numbingly detailed stuff here, a few things seem clear.

1)Bottles are being faked (cf the Talisker bottle)

2)Many suspect bottles look similar to the faked Talisker

3)None of these bottles have any provenance

4)No one seems to care

5)Some companies seem to be in ignorance or denial of this situation

6)Is this crazy?

7)Is it the malt whisky I want to buy?

8)Is it undermining my confidence in everything the distillers say?

9)Should I drink vodka instead?

Answers please - or just change the subject - I'm getting fed up with it as it stands !
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Postby Rudolph Hucker » Fri Jan 17, 2003 11:35 am

Erik says that it is just the R Kemp editions from the 1870's that gave us a lot of worries.

According to the scotch whisky net website Roderick Kemp did not get involved with Macallan until 1892 so I don't see how he could be involved with editions from 20 years earlier.

I admit I get very easily confused these days, were there two R Kemps?

Cheers

Rudolph
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Postby Rudolph Hucker » Fri Jan 17, 2003 1:26 pm

The answer, westcoastboy, is number 9,
but only if it is Van Gogh Apple Vodka!

Cheers

Rudolph
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Postby Iain » Fri Jan 17, 2003 1:40 pm

Hi WCB.

In answer to "answers please"...

The only person who can change the subject is the moderator, should she wish to remove "Fake Macallan" from the topics list.

But if you're fed up and find posts on this subject a bore, there are lots of other subjects you can look at instead. It is indeed a broad and tolerant happy-clappy church at WM.com :-)

ps: is the Macallan website auction going ahead, anyone?

and pps - there are two Kemps I think - weren't they both in Spandau Ballet ;-?
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Whisky gift and present finder