On July 29th, Zhang Wei shelled out 9,999 Swiss francs, an equivalent £7,700, for a 2 centilitre dram from an 1878 bottle of Macallan, making it the world’s most expensive glass of whisky. The costly drink was served up at the Devil’s Place bar, Hotel Waldhaus am See, St. Moritz, Switzerland.
The story of ‘the most expensive whisky in the world’ broke in August and almost immediately attracted scepticism from experts regarding the bottle, conditions of the cork, and inaccuracies on the label. Soon enough, Sandro Bernasconi, manager of the Waldhaus called for investigators to test the £230,000 bottle. Investigators from Rare Whisky 101 (RW101) began their examination of the bottle that was bought by Bernasconi’s father 25 years ago. With help from the Research Laboratory for Archeology and the History of Art at Oxford University, the whisky was carbon dated back to no further than 1970. Further tests by wine-and-spirits services company Tatlock and Thomson, disclosed the content to be a blend of malt (60%) and grain (40%) whisky.
According to experts, the cork looked too new and the glass used for the bottle was similar to ones made in 2002. The label also inaccurately names Roderick Kemp as the then ‘Proprietor, Macallan and Talisker Distilleries Ltd.’
With the revelation of the fake whisky, manager of Hotel Waldhaus has visited Zhang Wei to refund his money. That being said, co-founder of RW 101, David Robertson cautions buyers to conduct thorough research before purchasing and insists on testing rare expensive whiskies.