New test for fake whisky

26 July, 2011

A method for distinguishing between authentic and counterfeit Scotch whisky brand has been devised by scientists at the University of Strathclyde. 

Researchers from the university's Department of Pure & Applied Chemistry say the system could help the Scotch whisky industry in its fight against lost revenue and threats to brand reputation.

Professor David Littlejohn, who led the research, said: “The whisky industry has tools at its disposal for telling authentic and counterfeit whisky brands apart but many of them involve lab-based analysis, which isn’t always the most convenient system if a sample needs to be identified quickly.

“There’s a growing need for methods that can provide simpler and faster identification and we have developed a method which could be adapted for devices to use on site, without the need to return samples to a lab.”

The method uses mid-infrared spectrometry and probes incorporating novel optical fibres developed by Fibre Photonics, who co-sponsored the research.




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Talking terroir

When Bordeaux was in fashion, it seemed almost logical that we should fetishise winemakers. Here were people responsible for brilliant acts of blending, across large estates and multiple grape varieties, including superstars such as cabernet sauvignon and merlot. These days, fashion has moved on and pinot noir is ascendant. As a result, the star of the winemaker has fallen and we find ourselves following a new star in the sky: terroir.

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