There have been some extraordinary prices paid for particularly rare whiskies, chief among them the world’s most expensive dram.
In 2017, a Chinese millionaire paid £7,600 for 2cl of an 1878 Macallan in a hotel in Switzerland, but it later turned out to be a fake. Presumably, it was still whisky – and therefore still holds the record – just not the one it was believed to be.
Unfortunately, human taste buds are not entirely up to the task of distinguishing between the real thing and a cunningly constructed facsimile.
However, a new artificial “tongue”, developed by engineers in Glasgow, may be able to sort out any disputes reasonably conclusively with an accuracy rate of more than 99 per cent.
Another technique – radiocarbon dating – has also been deployed to root out fakes.
Perhaps one day there will be a special division of Police Scotland dedicated to stamping out whisky crime, an alcohol version of the Carabinieri Art Squad in Italy.
Or maybe, just maybe, people will realise the folly of paying a small fortune for an experience that requires a machine to work out whether it’s real or not.