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1959 whisky

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Postby Iain » Wed Mar 12, 2003 10:23 pm

Not Roderick Kemp!

He never owned a company called The Macallan Glenlivet Talisker Distilleries (supposed bottlers of the infamous The Macallan 1870)!

A spokesman for UDV, the world's biggest and most respected whisky company, with the most comprehensive company archives in the industry and a cache of expertise unrivalled in the world of whisky, and the owners of Talisker Distiller and its archives, says there is not a jot of evidence that a firm of that name ever existed.

In fact, the only evidence for its existence seems to be on the label of a bottle of whisky (I assume that it might be whisky) offered for sale on the Macallan website and on p92 of "Macallan...The Definitive Guide..."

And now you tell me that Macallan can't say if it's genuine or not either - despite trying to flog it on the web!

Erik, have you ever thought of applying your pr skills elsewhere? Enron are recruiting, I believe Image
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Postby Rudolph Hucker » Fri Mar 14, 2003 11:04 am

If as you say Erik, it is the good name of The Macallan Distillery that is at < steak > I guess it must have been burnt to a cinder by now!

Doesn't is seem reasonable that if The Macallan Distillery is ( rightly, in my view ) concerned about its good name, AND has the evidence ( which in my view they should have ) to prove the provenance of the whisky being offered, they should have issued an immediate statement explaining their case?

I mean, they must have been absolutely sure that they knew everything there is to know about the whisky - and the bottles - before
they even thought of offering it for sale. So it can't be a case of them having to check, can it? I mean, if they ARE having to check, and it is taking so long, doesn't that suggest that (a) they could not have been 100% sure before they announced the sale, and/or (b) they have been checking and are having a little difficulty in making their claims stand up.

As for being patient,the first posting on this question was dated January 1 - since you are so sure, dear Erik, that The Macallan are right, why has it taken 10 weeks
or some 50 working says for them to say so?

And as for your comment, west coast boy, about this burning topic getting into the hallowed pages of Whisky Magazine - how do you think this all started? With Dave's piece in - that's right - Whisky Magazine!

Cheers

Rudolph
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Postby lexkraai » Fri Mar 14, 2003 1:55 pm

I find it hard to imagine that Macallan would knowingly put a fake bottle into auction. I'm sure they did some research, quite possible showing that (and now I'm guessing) the paper of the label was 19th century and the bottle was as well. So no reason to think the bottle was a fake. Now if I'm a clever forger, I'd make sure that I get myself an empty 19th century bottle and some old paper .... even if the bottle and paper are genuine, the combined package need not be. One test which could say more would be a chemical analysis of the whisky itself, but that would involve taking a sample from the bottle, which I'm sure wouldn't be something you want to do to a bottle you're going to auction like this.

My own interpretation of the situation (for what it's worth) is that Macallan has been taken aback by the serious doubts that have emerged as a result of a non-existent company name on the label. The tests and research that they have already done probably gave them no reason to doubt it being genuine, but now the situation is radically different of course. This may explain why it takes some time for additional proof to emerge (or not).

Cheers, Lex
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Postby Iain » Fri Mar 14, 2003 2:47 pm

Which begs the question - is it a good idea to publish a book called "The Macallan: The Definitive Guide..." (rrp UK£10) if the publishers can't or won't confirm the identities and origins of products described on the glossy pages within?

Surely that's not a definitive guide - it's a mystery tour!
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Postby lexkraai » Fri Mar 14, 2003 5:40 pm

Question: what kind of evidence would be considered solid proof that this bottle is genuine? It seems to me that it is in principle much easier to prove the bottle is a fake than to prove it is real. So does the proof for being genuine amount to nothing more than a collection of tests that failed to show it is fake? And the more of such tests are done, and fail to pinpoint it as fake, the higher the confidence that the bottle is genuine? Or is there really a rock-solid method to show it is genuine?

Just pondering ....
Lex
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Postby Brigid » Fri Mar 14, 2003 5:50 pm

In response to westcoastboy's valid comment about the website review page not covering this topic - the editorial team is well aware of the ongoing discussion. However, please consider that publishing anything of this nature necessitates a lot more time and consideration than your average topic. For issue 30, this kind of consideration was not possible - but hopefully it will appear in issue 31.
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Postby Brigid » Fri Mar 14, 2003 5:52 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Arial, Verdana">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Brigid:
<B>In response to westcoastboy's valid comment about the website review page not covering this topic - the editorial team is well aware of the ongoing discussion. However, please consider that publishing anything of this nature necessitates a lot more time and consideration than your average topic. Unfortunately, for issue 30, this kind of consideration was not possible - but hopefully it will appear in issue 31.

</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sat Mar 15, 2003 1:02 pm

Hi Iain, Rudolph, Lex, etc etc,

This discussion is getting more a life of its own now. I think it's more wiser now to wait for the answers, and I'm sure we will get some. How can I be so sure? Well very simple I spoke with The Macallan, and they are trying to solve all the loose ends, wich mostly came from DB's article. This whole case was indeed an attack to the Macallan's original 19th Century bottles, link one another and the "good" name that The Macallan build up in all these years, is almost washed down the sink, because if you are a rich collector, and have recently bought one of these bottles of Macallan from the 19th Century you must begining to get some doubts right now, isn't it? If the bottle you bought is genuine or not?(at least I would)

Another matter is "evidence", how can we be so sure that the bottle is a fake or not? There are many scientifical methodes to use, like drawn a sample, but that's not an option, another thing is carbon-dating, wich can give you some answers. Other things to collect evidence is historical material, like some archives etc, family archives(as in the R. KEMP family). You have to do such a research, wich is The Macallan is doing right now, with a lot of effort, dedication, and they show some devotion to this(something you'll see sooner or later). It is something they'll take their time for, no matter what people say(consumers, journalists, etc).

All we care about is the following question: Did or did not Roderick Kemp owned both of the distilleries(macallan and Talisker) at the same time, under the name of Macallan Glenlivet Talisker Distilleries??? But do we care about Macallan right now, as they are right now as today? Well I do, because I feel that The Macallan is put to embarrassment a this point(referring to the article in The Whisky Magazine)

If, and I say if, The UDV spokesman is right Iain, then you'll have all the answers there. Wich I would suggest is that you contact The Macallan straight away, and tell them what you know! But how can you be so sure that R Kemp never owned such a company under the name Macallan Glenlivet Talisker Distilleries?? Where's your part of the evidence??

However I'm a true believer that "we" as consumers deserve the full right to get some answers from The Macallan, because after all we are the buyers of their products and, and I'm positive about this that that would happen, either thru the Whisky Magazine in cooperative with The Macallan, or at The Macallan Website.
No matter what the outcome will be, I will always stay behind The Macallan. Because at some point they can do a lot about it, and at some point they can't, simply because the people at The Macallan has to depend on others, when it comes to a research, collecting evidence, checking its reliability etc.

In the last couple of posts Lex had a good point there, and especially with his question: what kind of evidence would be considered solid proof that this bottle is genuine? In other words, how far will we go, how far will we push this subject to the limit?

By the way "The Definitve Guide..." is not the Issue here, if the vintages are real or not. I believe that they are real, and if not, it would be very stupid of The Macallan to do so, and they are not that stupid to do so, otherwise they can pack their bags and leave, isn't it?? The Macallan looks very sincere to me, so the vintages are OK, no single doubt about that(I wish I could buy one or two of them....).

After all guys, we all have our own right to say how we think about this subject, and it all depends how you look against it, from a different angle or a different point of vieuw. But neither one of us is able to tell us here what the real story is behind all of this, or are we able to tell it???? Perhaps only people from the Macallan can?

Still pondering and waiting patiently,

Erik
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Postby lexkraai » Sat Mar 15, 2003 5:16 pm

Erik, can you explain to me how carbon-dating can be used to date a bottle of whisky? I know what carbon-dating is, you don't need to explain that, but I don't see how it can be used on a bottle of whisky. Please enlighten me!

As to R. Kemp, you basically say that you'll believe he did own both distilleries until you see evidence to the contrary, right? But you can never prove a negative, so it's impossible to prove he didn't own both distilleries. When Iain says the UDV archives don't have a shred of evidence for him owning both distilleries, I feel that's pretty worrying (though not rock-solid proof).

Cheers, Lex
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sat Mar 15, 2003 11:49 pm

Lex,

By carbon dating a bottle is simply taking a sample of the paper label, or a tiny sample of the glass, but if you red my article, you have noticed between the lines so to speak that it isn't water proof at all, all I sugested that they where all options to use, I never said that it will give you a solid hard evidence.

As for Kemp, you say that it is impossible to prove that he did own both distilleries?
Well I think, and I believe, that they can and will prove that Kep did or did not owned both of the distilleries, no matter what the outcome will be, if it is a positive one or a negative one, I believe that somewhere there in Scotland lies the answer to this matter...

As for the UDV spokesman, I agree with you that it is not a solid hard proof evidence, however one may led to another, and may solve a bit of this Macallan jigzaw puzzle.

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Postby lexkraai » Sun Mar 16, 2003 11:37 am

Erik, you have me more confused now: how can you use carbon-dating on non-organic material? How much carbon does a silicate like glass contain and is that still enough to show the C12/C14 difference on a time scale of decades rather than the hundreds to thousands of years that C-dating is normally used for? And even if you can date the bottle and/or the label, that says absolutely nothing about whether the whole thing, i.e. bottle+label+whisky, is genuine or fake.

As to Kemp, I said it is impossible to prove that he did NOT own both distilleries. You simply can't prove a negative, ever.

Cheers, Lex
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Postby Gate » Sun Mar 16, 2003 2:07 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Arial, Verdana">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Huurman:
The Macallan looks very sincere to me, so the vintages are OK, no single doubt about that<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I have to say that I thought the point was not about whether Macallan is sincere or not (I don't think anyone has suggested anything to the contrary), but rather whether they might have been suckered by a clever forger. It has happened with fine art, and I think with fine wine too, so I don't see why the collector's market for fine whisky should be any less a target for the forger. Still, it confirms me in my thought that you shouldn't buy anything you're not prepared to drink.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Mar 16, 2003 9:22 pm

Hi Lex,

I believe that it is possible to use C dating at non organic material(at least at paper) I have seen it somewhere.

Then again, you or I or anyone else can't prove the fact that R.Kemp has owned both of distilleries yes or no. But I believe that MAYBE there's some evidence left that this puzzle can be solved.

Don't worry Lex I'm an expert when it comes to confusing people etc Image Image

Erik
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Mar 16, 2003 9:31 pm

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

Cheers

Rudolph
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Mar 16, 2003 9:37 pm

I hope that soon this discussion will be ended, it's becomming a never ending story.
Let some one put us out of our misery here, because it's getting a weird direction here, from "scientific solutions", till "It could be impossible for R.Kemp to own both of distilleries", till "foreign websites where you can still buy lots of Macallan under the name of R.Kemp", till "god knows whatever we can up with here".

Can anyone answer this?????

Erik
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Mar 16, 2003 9:49 pm

Did I sounded desparate? Well I'm not. But this discussion must come to an end now, all what's left, is waiting, for some official comment. If it's going to be the Whisky Mag. or The Macallan, it doesn't matter. Do all of you agree on this one? Because we are getting nowhere here, and even if I knew something more then the rest here, I even couldn't tell it, because then I have to prove it, and make an official statement or something like that, well I'll pass, if you don't mind.

Slainte Mhath,

Erik
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Postby Iain » Sun Mar 16, 2003 10:04 pm

Erik, I have e-mailed Macallan several times with queries and concerns. Still waiting for a response (many months later).

But I DO seem to have dropped off the mailing list for the on-line auction!

Re your question
"If, and I say if, The UDV spokesman is right Iain, then you'll have all the answers there. Wich I would suggest is that you contact The Macallan straight away, and tell them what you know!"

See Whisky Mag, 28, p19. I believe that the info on the sale of Talisker came from the helpful folks at UDV, who are always happy to answer questions (promptly) about the history of their brands (unlike some people Image

And why not. They have nothing to hide Image
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Mar 16, 2003 10:58 pm

Like I said before Iain, it's going to be a very long "yes" a very long "no" and a very very long "if this or if that" Image

I regret it that Macallan never answers your e-mails, perhaps they are at a stage right now that it's very delicate to say anything at all, because they have find some evidence, so they can proof it to us.

I personally have the feeling, that the outcome to all of this will surprises us all. Image

UDV has nothing to hide about the Talisker Distillery and so does the Macallan, they have nothing to hide either, perhaps they are very very careful about providing information, because they want to give you the right information Image

I have a sneaky suspicion, that the Macallan knows us(Erik and Iain), and that they have to watch there steps very closely, before they make any move at all Image Image

Slainte,

Erik
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Postby lexkraai » Mon Mar 17, 2003 9:03 am

Erik, as the unofficial Macallan spokesman in this forum, you're telling us that Macallan is conducting carbon-dating on a glass bottle to shed light on whether it is a fake or not. The whole concept of carbon-dating is based on C from the environment becoming incorporated in an organic being as it grows. After death of the organism, C14 slowly decays, so the C12/C14 ratio changes over time; that's how the age can be estimated (within confidence limits, of course). If Macallan really believes that this technique will work in the absence of any organic C (and you tell us they are doing this), then I seriously wonder ....

Lex
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Postby MacAndersson » Mon Mar 17, 2003 10:09 am

Erik,

If this discussion is that boring to you, simply stop replying!
Also I think you are in some respect missing the point. It can’t be right of Macallan to put a bottle up fore sale when there is this much doubt about its authenticity even if the bottle later turns out to be genuine.
And as for the people of this forum being "sure that the bottle is a fake" we are not! We are simply raising questions and express our concern in this matter, which Macallan doesn’t seems to do since they are offering it for sale.
Any responsible company would have pulled back the bottle or presented evidence of its authenticity. That’s the only two options I feel Macallan have and I am yet to see the later.
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Postby Iain » Mon Mar 17, 2003 3:09 pm

From the Macallan website, news that the auction of the "1856" has begun, and this message

"This auction will close on 31st March 2003. Reserve Price: £10,000"

At that price it would be nice to have some info about the whisky, such as when it was bottled and when Mr McWilliam opened his wee shoppie in Craigellachie and started bottling *very* old Macallans...
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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Mar 17, 2003 5:11 pm

Lex,

I never sugested that the Macallan is using Carbon dating. I only said that it is a possibility to use. Please Lex before you say anything at all read more carefuly what I wrote..... And wheter the posibility to use such a thing isn't up to me Lex. I hope you catch this....

Erik
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Postby lexkraai » Mon Mar 17, 2003 5:37 pm

Likewise, Erik

Lex

[This message has been edited by lexkraai (edited 17 March 2003).]
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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Mar 17, 2003 7:51 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Arial, Verdana">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Iain:
<B>Still no reply. Will we ever get evidence to prove or even suggest the existence of those bottlers in 19th c Speyside?

In the meantime, this topic seems to have died through lack of interest. In answer to Mac's original question re "Fake Macallan",

"Which one is out on deep water Dave or Macallan?"

The answer appears to be (in the absence of any response from Mac) that it's the latter. Not waving...</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Iain,

Come on, it's early days yet.

Remember how long they took to reply to the questions about colouring in the Macallan?

I think it was around 3 months, so don't despair yet,especially as this seems to me to be an even more important subject. I am sure they will eventually produce all the evidence you need.

Cheers

Rudolph
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Postby Iain » Tue Mar 18, 2003 10:30 am

Indeed, Erik. Although I can't quite fathom why you brought up the issue of carbon dating of bottles in the first place if it isn't an option Mac will pursue.
Indeed, in all your many posts you have yet to confirm a single thing that is going to be done to establish the provenance of those bottles!
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Postby Rudolph Hucker » Tue Mar 18, 2003 1:14 pm

Dear Erik

Now you've got me totally confused - which is quite easy to do!

What with the carbon dating and some dead guy called Kemp, I have nearly lost track of what this is all about - but not quite.

What it is really about is simply this - have The Macallan ( knowingly or in all innocence ) offered for sale a product that they cannot authenticate?

If they have not, then they should issue that authentification. Since we all agree that no reputable producer would try to mislead customers, we must assume that The Macallan can prove its case, and could do so in 5 minutes or so by posting that evidence on this forum. Moreover, since they must have had that evidence BEFORE they offered the product for sale, there can be no question - as you seem to suggest they are doing - of having to get that evidence AFTER the product was offered for sale.

Unless they fear that they have been mislead themselves by some one else about the authenticity. But if they had the SLIGHTEST doubt about the authenticity, they would as quickly as possible have announced that they were postponing the sale until the product could be validated BEYOUND ANY REASONABLE DOUBT.

Wouldn't they?

Cheers

Rudolph
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Postby anna zigure » Tue Mar 18, 2003 4:51 pm

Iain

I have been waiting with bated breath for the official Macallan response which surprise, surprise has still not happened.

Does this mean that the folks at the Macallan

a) don't know about this web site
b) don't care about the opinions of people who use this website
c) think it is beneath them to have to explain themselves to the sort of people who use this website
d) are still trying to think of an answer

Cheers

Rudolph
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Mar 18, 2003 6:25 pm

Hi Rudolph,

Forget about the carbondating, it was onle an option, wich is probably not entirely water proof. And as Lex suggested that it has to be an organic material(in wich he's right), to use this on, well I have seen somewhere that they where using non organic materials, but if they had any succes? I'm not sure about this.

The Issue here is a Macallan 1872 bottled by R.Kemp under the name of Macallan Glenlivet and Taliskers Distilleries Ltd.
Well some say he didn't bottle it under this name, because he couldn't owned two distilleries at the same time, so it was proven to be a fake. And others say well why not , maybe there's a possibility that could own two distilleries at the same time, and bottle this Macallan under that name. While some say we stay as neutral as possible, because we can't prove a thing, and lets wait for the out come....

You are right 5 minutes is absolutely nothing, but what would you want them to say here: that it is a genuine bottle? or: that it was a fake, and there was clever forger at work? Right now Rudolph they can't say anything at all, because this is a very delicate matter, with a lot at steak, so they are very very careful. Although and I hope you agree with me it would be nice if they said some words like: we are still working on it, or something else like that.

Well this is as far as I go, and start to verify some answers I found. I'll stop replying now, unless there's something news to report here....

Slainte,

Erik Image
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Postby Iain » Tue Mar 18, 2003 9:34 pm

Hurrah! Erik has left until he has some real information to offer, and I get to make the first-ever 100th post on a WM topic!

On a serious note - I think that this thread has proved an important point. Some whisky companies have been able to dictate prices, and perhaps the ages, styles and characters of whiskies they wish to produce, to a market that generally accepts the veracity of the information it is given.

The "vintage" market, meanwhile, has run out of control and is become an embarrassment, threatening the good name of Scotch whisky. cf claims of recent "World Record" prices.

By refusing to accept the usual "we know best and we'll let you know when we're good and ready" attitude of Mac and their rather peculiar choice of spokesperson Erik (and to be fair that attitude is not unique in the whisky industry) we are hopefully establishing that whisky consumers will not just accept the "it's true because we say it is" line in future.

If anyone thought they could put any old rubbish on the market and expect customers to accept its value and provenance without an iota of proof, they will probably be having second thoughts right now. And that can't be a bad thing for a healthy whisky industry and market.

So - if anyone spots anything dodgy in whisky in the future - let your fellow enthusiasts know! Companies with consumers' interests at heart will be happy to answer your concerns. Those that don't - well, you can draw your own conclusions Image
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Postby Rudolph Hucker » Wed Mar 19, 2003 10:56 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Arial, Verdana">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Huurman:
<B>Hi Rudolph,

Forget about the carbondating, it was onle an option, wich is probably not entirely water proof. And as Lex suggested that it has to be an organic material(in wich he's right), to use this on, well I have seen somewhere that they where using non organic materials, but if they had any succes? I'm not sure about this.

The Issue here is a Macallan 1872 bottled by R.Kemp under the name of Macallan Glenlivet and Taliskers Distilleries Ltd.
Well some say he didn't bottle it under this name, because he couldn't owned two distilleries at the same time, so it was proven to be a fake. And others say well why not , maybe there's a possibility that could own two distilleries at the same time, and bottle this Macallan under that name. While some say we stay as neutral as possible, because we can't prove a thing, and lets wait for the out come....

You are right 5 minutes is absolutely nothing, but what would you want them to say here: that it is a genuine bottle? or: that it was a fake, and there was clever forger at work? Right now Rudolph they can't say anything at all, because this is a very delicate matter, with a lot at steak, so they are very very careful. Although and I hope you agree with me it would be nice if they said some words like: we are still working on it, or something else like that.

Well this is as far as I go, and start to verify some answers I found. I'll stop replying now, unless there's something news to report here....

Slainte,

Erik Image</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


Come on Erik - I do admire your loyalty and
defence of The Macallan, but even you must admit that there is something not quite right about all this.

You say < Right now they can't say anything at all because this is such a very delicate matter > If they are absolutely sure of the provenance of this product ( which they should have been before offering it for sale, don't you agree? ), why is it a very delicate matter they can't say anything about? All they have to do is say WE CAN PROVE IT - HERE IS THE EVIDENCE.

So again I say it's really very simple -

Either the provenance of this product can be validated or it cannot be validated. If it can, The Macallan is perfectly justified in offering it for sale. If it cannot, The Macallan should never have offered it for sale, and if they did not find out until after they had offered it for sale that it could not be validated, The Macallan would have no option - being the honourable people they are - but to announce they were withdrawing the product from sale.

Isn't it really as straight forward and simple as that - or am I missing something?

Cheers

Rudolph
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Postby Iain » Wed Mar 26, 2003 7:45 pm

Hurry, hurry, hurry!

The closing date for the (or rather, one of the!)"McWilliam 1856" Macs is 31 March, reserve price £10,000. See their website for details (of the sale - there are still no details there regarding provenance, I'm afraid).

Would YOU buy a second hand bottle from these people?
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Postby scotspain » Sun Mar 30, 2003 10:23 pm

Just though about it!
They will of course come with the results tomorrow.
And the person who won the auction - April fool!
Stig
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Postby westcoastboy » Tue Apr 01, 2003 2:27 pm

Tuesday April 1st - 15:28, and according to the website the auction is still open.
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Postby Iain » Wed Apr 02, 2003 12:29 pm

By 13.30 on 2 April, the "1856" auction is over. A message says

"The Auction is now closed. We received two bids over the reserve price"
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Postby Gate » Wed Apr 02, 2003 9:47 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Arial, Verdana">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Iain:
"The Auction is now closed. We received two bids over the reserve price"<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

On the basis that there's one born every minute, that looks like two minutes' worth...
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