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Issue 33 - Case adjourned

Whisky Magazine Issue 33
September 2003


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Case adjourned

Whisky enthusiast and scientist Alex Kraaijeveld responds to The Macallan's defence of the authenticity of its antique whiskies in the last issue

With great interest, I have been following the debate about potentially fake Macallan bottles, both in Whisky Magazine and on their website forum, www.whiskyworld. com. My interest comes from being a scientist and having a passion for whisky and its history. Therefore, I was very
curious for the evidence that Macallan would present to show that the old bottles that had raised serious concern were genuinely Victorian and not recent fakes.

Having read the official statement from Macallan, I must say that I am very disappointed in it.

First of all, despite announcements that further chemical analyses would be performed, the results of these analyses are not given; chemical analyses are not even mentioned in the statement.

The evidence provided by Macallan to prove the authenticity of its old bottles consists of conclusions from a glass and a paper expert, who were given access to the bottles in the summer of 2002 (i.e. before the whole debate began).

These two experts basically concluded that there was no reason to think that the glass bottles themselves or the paper used for the label was anything but genuine. What is not clear is what kind of analyses were done on, for instance, the paper.

Was the paper expert allowed to take a sample of the label away for detailed laboratory analysis, or was he only allowed to examine it by hand and eye?

If detailed analysis was allowed, which tests did he perform? Was paper from all the bottles analysed, or only from a subset? Did he a...

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