Please note items can not be offered for sale on this forum.
Anyway, way back on 1 January 2003 McAnderson started the discussion when he posted this message:
Regarding fake Whisky.
In Whisky Magazine No.28 Dave Broom writes apiece called “An old con” in which he writes:
......”Occasionally, however, some could be shown to be fake. Two such bottles were both supposedly from Macallan, one from 1872, the other from 1888 (sold at auction) and purporting to have been bottled by Stephen Smith & Co. Ltd. Once again the labels were remarkably unmarked and also complex. While there was a wine and spirit merchant called Stephen Smith (who did blend and bottle whisky and was at one time the owner of the largest vineyard in Australia), Companies House could find no record of it trading at this time, and trade journals could find no mention of the firm offering bottled, mature malt whisky. Still, it was possible that they had a few casks hidden away and decided to bottle it at a much later date. The label stated that the 1888 whisky was “produced and bottled by Roderick Kemp, Proprietors, Macallan and Talisker Distilleries Ltd”. The 1872, strangely, was “Selected by Proprietor R. Kemp, Macallan-Glenlivet and Talisker Distilleries Ltd”. There was no record of either firm in Companies House. That isn’t particularly surprising. Roderick Kemp had owned (or part-owned) both Macallan and Talisker distilleries, but not at the same time! He sold his interest in Talisker in 1892 and then used the money to buy Macallan. In 1898 Talisker merged with Dailuaine to form Dailuaine-Talisker Distilleries Ltd. At no point did he own both Talisker and Macallan. Kemp was a businessman. He wouldn’t put an illegal company name on his whisky. Neither would he have deviated from standard business practice and changed the name of his firm willy-nilly.”
Now to my concern. In “The definitive guide to buying vintage Macallan” page 92-93 The Macallan 1870 has the same text “Selected by Proprietor R. Kemp, Macallan-Glenlivet and Talisker Distilleries Ltd”.
Raises a few questions doesn’t it? Which one is out on deep water Dave or Macallan?
Or am I the one missing something here?
"Finally, be wary of old fakes. Get a professional expert to thoroughly check anything bottled before the First World War *before* you part with cash."
(http://money.independent.co.uk/personal ... ory=488456)
It would be a valuable service to collectors, if this advice were to be posted on the Macallan auction website?
http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/busines ... =174642004
They are usingf ultraviolet light, and I assume they then compare the results of the inspected sample with that of a known authentic sample.
If a known "result" (spectrum?) of that whisky is not available, then I guess this will not be helpfull in this case?
A DEVICE which takes less than a minute to sniff out counterfeit whisky was unveiled yesterday.
(http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/conte ... _page.html)
It only takes a minute using an "authenticator"?
Meanwhile, Highland are plodding on 14 months later...
But again, I dont think it is applying here at all, since to compare the test results against known authentic samples you need authenticated samples, which do not excist to my knowledge?
The new testing method developped by Diageo only is usefull to test the authenticity of whisky sold in bar's pub's etc.
That would make sense. I was told that the earliest that the results were expected was September. Sit and wait is right but it is frustrating. "
(Marcin Miller, 10 September 2003 - more than 5 months ago)
I wonder what has caused this latest, long and unfortunate delay at Mac? Was Marcin's informant a reliable person?
It is indeed frustrating - my dictionary gives one definition of "frustrate" as:
"to balk, baffle, neutralize, disappoint."
That wouldn't be corporate policy, I hope!
The view from the other end of the business, the consumer, is different. I see a distillery that built it's reputation on quality whiskies now in a decline due to a lack of mature stock, whispers in print and by those in the whisky making business of the Macallan now running their stills for the shortest time on Speyside with the associated drop in quality and flavour to maximize output. I see the vintage statement taken off the 18 year old because no more of the older quality malts are in stock. I taste the difference in the 12 year old from just a few years ago and the vanishing of the 15 year old from my market. I see the doubling in price of the 25 year old and the introduction of reproduction malts with very young whiskies as fillers at super premium prices. I see "exceptional cask number 5" as a shining beacon for the quality of the line up but only a few hundred bottles available world wide.
I see the decline of the Macallan.
if you check this page for instance: http://shop.themacallan.com/items/1930.html
one might notice that all these whiskies are combined with a particular year of bottling (between 1969 & 1979). this is because macallan bought large amounts of old gordon & macphail bottlings from an italian rare bottle retailer (http://www.whiskyparadise.com), "re-bottled" them into 70cl-bottles and now sell them off as original bottlings. those "re-bottled" whiskies from their vintage range were bottled with g&m label in the years stated and afterwards stood on italian shelves for many years as g&m macallan-glenlivets. now you can buy the same whisky at a slightly higher price from macallan directly. or alternatively auction it
bearing this in mind do you really think they care about credibility?
Would a customer have a right to complain if he or she bought a whisky on the assumption it was matured and bottled by one company, only to find that it had actually been matured and bottled by another and then rebottled without indicating this sleight of hand on the label or packaging?
Kate's latest post (26 Feb) in the news forum contains a statement that may or may not be pertinent:
"The issue of decanting cheap products into expensive bottles has long been a problem"
No company with even a shred of integrity would do such a thing, of course.
Why doesn't someone just taste the bloody stuff???
(Yes, I realise someone actually has to splash out the cash first to enable this to occur).
If the whisky inside is indeed a fake, (perhaps a simple modern blend, maybe just some regular Macallan 12yo), then an educated palate will surely be able to detect this. Presumably, the condition and quality of the cork would also be a fairly accurate indicator as to the age of the bottle.
(I've walked in on this discussion late, so sorry if any of the above has already been discussed or discredited).
And in response or in swift reaction to whynot's comment I cut and pasted into an email and fired if off to the Macallan the day it was posted, however the macallan has not seen fit to respond. Perhaps this was news to them?
But we do know what it probably WON'T taste like. It is a safe bet that, if a suspected fake bottle was opened now and tasted, it would not taste anything like a Macallan made today. So if the producer of the fake was dumb enough to fill it up with regular Mac 12yo, then tasting it would immediately reveal the bottling to be non-genuine.
In fact, we can assume that it will taste quite unlike anything around today, so similarity to anything going round at the moment must raise suspicions.
And finally, I suspect that a single malt made over 100 years ago, which has been sitting a bottle for 100 years, with a cork that will no doubt have deteriorated to some extent will actually probably taste pretty awful.
Ironic, isn't it? A super-expensive Macallan made over a 100 years ago, and it probably isn't fit for consumption. So if a suspected fake was opened and found to taste delicious, I'd declare it a fake straight away!
Today, so many of the processes are mechanised and computerised. Even the harvesting of the barley & the production of malt is so clinical & precise these days.
(Take the making of peated malt for example. The distillers specify the degree of peating, and they get it delivered with a reading down to a part per million! In the old days, peat was simply thrown on the fire, and some batches came out much more, or much less, peated than others. This is an often-cited example of why some of the older Ardbegs on the market at the moment vary so much in their degree of peatiness).
And yet 100 years ago, the workforce was all manual labour, not automated or computerised. The stills were all coal fired, the pots were rummaged by a bloke with a broom, water purity would have been different, cask selection would have been far less organised or precise, emphasis on hygiene & sterilisation would have been much less, & the list just goes on & on.
I think we are guilty of getting too romantic & nostalgic with the old, historical, & traditional aspects of 19th century distilling, rather than facing up to the cold hard facts & realities of how a working distillery operated at that time.
Jim Murray and Michael Jackson are said to be the great champions of the sms aficionado ( I believe they said it, so it must be true).
They represent the consumer, not the producer (they say, while pocketing large corporate cheques). They address the issues that you, the consumer, wants to address (they say, while ignoring issues of corporate misinformation).
Yet they do not say anything about this "Fake Mac" issue, although the thread has been gathering moss since 2002.
Hello boys. Are you listening? What do you think? I'm sorry that there's no fee involved.
I know MJ has reviewed the Mac 1874 replicant and probably others. MJ has reviewed the Mac 1841 and 1861 replicants in his Whisky Bible (which clearly does not include the Book of Doubting Thomas). But no mention of provenance. No mention of the concerns raised here and elsewhere.
Come on guys. You're not stupid. What do you REALLY think, when the corporate cheque book is put away?
Are these REALLY Macs from 1841, 1861, or 18Goodnessknowswhenbutwe gotitfromaguyfromItalyinthe barof theMansfieldinthe1990s?
It must be hard making a living while biting your tongues.
Should I go for MaCA. No! I think I would go for MacD. Anyhow the finish last for the same time but with MacD you are sure to get the real thing.
My two Kroners
Can anyone top that? An 1824 perhaps?
James Thomson spotted it on a trip to Mac in 1999 (when he was also lucky enough to spot a busy Martin Green lurking among some old bottles).
Below is the relevant section snipped from
http://www.scotchwhisky.com/latest/maca ... part1.html
"As luck would have it historic whisky expert Martin Green from Christies (who hold two whisky auctions each year - see our Part II article on The Rarest Whiskies in The World) was conducting some research at the distillery that day. and Nina MacKellar, who looks after the distilleries own collection, had assembled the most extraordinary array of old bottles of The Macallan that you are ever likely to see at one time. Over 60 bottles were arranged in the old company boardroom and spanned the years 1830 till 1930. No other distillery, in my mind, has anything like the legacy of stock that exists of Macallan – perhaps an indicator that this spirit has always been a popular and sought after product. I was interested to see one bottle that had been bottled by the local grocer in Craigellachie – early brand building in the important local market! James Thomson "
15 months on, Mac have yet to address the Fake Mac issue and it is still festering away.
By the way - Martin Green is McTear's whisky expert, and if he was looking at all those "old" Macs back in 1999 -
I wonder if he pointed out to Mac that some of the bottles looked a bit "odd" before the on-line auctions began?
And if not, why not?
David Cox of Mac wrote in WM a whiles back that "While distillery records pre-1890 are patchy, the cask books *clearly show from whom each order was received and to whom each cask was delivered, together with the number and type of cask.* In turn, some of these casks could have been sold on or bottled for others. "
So - it should be very easy to solve the McWilliam issue, re the years in which he began receiving casks of Mac at his Craigellachie shop.
Simply copy the entries in the distillery records which identify the casks that were sold to McWilliam, and make these records available to the doubting Thomases! I'm sure WM would be happy to publish copies of the relevant entries.
Warehouse records should provide the date of distillation as well as the date the cask was cleared from the warehouse, so these records DC describes would surely prove that McW received casks of the vintages that have recently been offered for sale at auction?
(I can't believe that McW would have bought casks second hand, when he could purchase them direct from the nearby distillery without having to pay the middle-man's mark-up.)
Simple! That should give the doubters a bloody nose!
If this is true, why not photocopy the entries that document casks ordered by or delivered to Mr McWilliam and the other bottlers of the alleged "dodgy Macs", and send the copies to Lex or to WM for publication? That will prove Mac took orders from and/or supplied whisky to those dealers, and give dates. A poke in the eye for the doubters!
It would only take a few minutes and cost about 20p to clear up the issue, and defend the reputation of Macallan from charges of being "economical with the truth".
If there's nothing to hide, where's the problem?
Meanwhile, the "Fake Mac" debate rumbles on into its *17th* month.
The folks at Edrington must be delighted to have such a "savvy" team guarding the reputation of their flagship single malt...
This topic is not about the relationship between WM and Macallan, it is about Macallan and some of their products. WM are simply providing the platform for this discussion.
Sorry Rudolph, no conspiracy theories to get your teeth into here.
I suggest that you should review the whole of this thread before plunging in to defend someone who, according to you, may not even be associated with WM. ( Two Dominic Roskrows? Both writing about whisky? Sounds reasonable )
You will see that back in September from around page 14 of this thread comments were posted by others suggesting that the Dominic Roskrow who edits WM had written an article that seemed to them to support the claims made by Macallan. You will also see that I posted my thoughts which defended your Dominic Roskrow, and that I was thanked for my support by Marcin Miller, who was then publishing Director of WM. I completely agree that it is the proper role of WM to hold the ring in these circumstances.
But the fact remains that some people questioned the comments your Dominic Roskrow had made. So although you might not be abl to see it, at least in some peoples eyes the possibility existed that there was a relationship between the Macallan and WM.
Personally, as I said at that time, I don't think that WM is at fault, but the beauty of forums like this is that they give everyone who is interested the opportunity to post a point of view - and everyone else can post opposite views if they disagree.
Several contributors to this thread have posted details of links that
they feel may possibly be of interest to followers of the Fake Macallan saga, which is all I have done with the link about a piece written by someone called Dominic Roskrow writing about old Macallan whisky.
If you read my posting again, you will see that I merely point out that the article exists, which in the light of the widespread interest in this thread, does not seem to be an unreasonable thing to do.
I made no comment about the contents of the ''article'', nor did I make any comment about the writer.
Naturally, if , as you suggest, there is another Dominic Roskrow writing about whisky - I notice that there are also articles on the internet by a Dominic Roskrow writing about music, so perhaps there is - then I have made a mistake, and apologise to all concerned.
But, as with my posting about this article, readers can, of course, go to the website in question and decide for themselves.
Of course, if you will categorically state that I
have confused your Dominic Roskrow with another writer of the same name, and that he was not the author of the piece in question, then I shall post a full apology to your Dominic Roskrow.
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