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A fake? Swiss hotel testing pricey whisky after forgery claim

The "Devils Place" bar at the Hotel Waldhaus am See serves 2,500 kinds of whisky

(Keystone)

The Swiss hotel where a guest recently paid CHF9,999 ($10,279) for a dram of whisky is investigating whether the liquor was fake.

In a statement, the Hotel Waldhaus am See near the popular resort town of St Moritz said it is taking very seriously the possibility that the whisky could be inauthentic and is submitting the bottle of 1878 Macallan for “extremely rigorous” testing.

The hotel was alerted to the possibility of fake whisky after connoisseur Serge Valentin questioned the bottle’s authenticity in a post on his website.external link

When a Chinese tourist purchased a glass of the more than century-old Macallan on July 29, the hotel uncorked what was believed to be the last unopened bottle of that vintage in the world.


The bottle had been purchased by former hotel owner Claudio Bernasconi 25 years ago for a “five-figure sum”, according to the hotel’s statement. Sandro Bernasconi, the current owner, wrote in the statement that “during all that time, we never had the slightest suspicion that the whisky could be fake”. 

The hotel has contacted a renowned whisky tester in England to determine whether the remainder of the liquid in the bottle is authentic. The testing process could take several months.

The man who purchased the CHF9,999 dram of whisky will be reimbursed if the rare Macallan is found to be fake, the hotel statement said, adding that it would then seek legal action against the person who sold Claudio Bernasconi the bottle.

The Hotel Waldhaus is in the Guinness Book of Records for having the world’s largest collection of whiskies at 2,500.

swissinfo.ch/vdv

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