On 29 July, a Chinese guest reported to be the multi-millionaire online fantasy writer Zhang Wei paid CHF9,999 (US$10,277) for a 2cl measure of the single malt in the Devil’s Place Bar at the Hotel Waldhaus am See in St Moritz, Switzerland.
The hotel carried out a full investigation when a number of whisky collectors raised concerns about the authenticity of the Macallan bottle. When inquired about the similarities to the Waldhaus bottle and the historical inaccuracies on the labels, the company informed on 14 August, “We believe these are genuine. As a precaution, however, we have removed a few very old bottles from display while we update previous validation work in the light of improved technology and knowledge in the field of authentication.”
They also added that, “We are in the process of creating an exhibit in the new visitor centre currently under construction, where a fully authenticated collection will be on public display from early summer next year.”
The display included a number of vintage bottles, including those that dated back to 1841, 1861, and 1879. However, the company has not revealed the exact number of bottles that have been removed and which are the ones.
Back in 2004, Macallan’s antique collection had been riddled with fakes. It was believed that at least everything being open now, people wouldn’t be fooled by such illicit bottles again. The episode at one of the world’s leading whisky bar, Hotel Waldhaus am See, clearly shows that this has not been the case.