Skip to comments.Nuclear bomb tests help to identify fake whisky
Posted on 05/02/2009 11:45:37 PM PDT by Schnucki
Radioactive material flung into the atmosphere by nuclear bomb tests is helping scientists to fight the multi-million pound trade in counterfeit antique malt whisky.
Bottles of vintage whisky can sell for thousands of pounds each, but industry experts claim the market has been flooded with fakes that purport to be several hundred years old but instead contain worthless spirit that was made just a few years ago.
Scientists have found, however, that minute levels of radioactive carbon absorbed by the barley as it grew before it was harvested to make the whisky can betray how old it is.
Researchers at the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, which is funded by the National Environmental Research Council, discovered that they could pinpoint the date a whisky was made by detecting traces of radioactive particles created by nuclear bomb tests in the 1950s.
They can also use natural background levels of radioactivity to identify whiskies that were made in earlier centuries.
Dr Tom Higham, deputy director of the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, said: "It is easy to tell if whisky is fake as if it has been produced since the middle of the twentieth century, it has a very distinctive signature.
"With whiskies that are older, we can get a range of dates but we can usually tell which century it came from. The earliest whisky we have dated came from the 1700s and most have been from 19th century.
"So far there have probably been more fakes among the samples we've tested than real examples of old whisky."
The technique the scientists use is known as radiocarbon dating and is more commonly used by archaeologists to date ancient fragments of bone and wood.
It relies upon the fact that all living organisms absorb low levels of a radioactive isotope known as carbon 14,
(Excerpt) Read more at telegraph.co.uk ...
"Eat your heart out, Jack Daniels!"
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spelling all depends on whether your talking scotch or bourbon. Jack is a bourbon whiskey while scotch is common in Britain.
Years ago I read of a fellow who would pour for his guests from a Chivas Regal bottle filled with inexpensive pedestrian whiskey. Nobody ever could tell.
Nouveau riche posers buy for prestige, not for inherent quality. Art, whiskey, or autographed baseballs, not many actually can tell the difference. Nor do they really care as long as the people they want to impress are fooled.
Lots of bars do that. They keep two bottles of the same brand, one with the real stuff and the other filled with cheap stuff.
Most people can tell if they are getting the real stuff the first or second drink — but the alcohol itself numbs the tongue and after the third one, they can barely tell what they are drinking, let alone what brand it is.
There was a bar in London I think about 20 years ago that specialized in rare booze that you could by by the shot for amounts of like $100.00 or $2000.00 from bottles that were collected from old and rare collections such as Napoleon’s actual, personal bottles of brandy, or such.
“Whiskey” is the common American spelling.
“Whisky” is the common Scottish spelling.
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Thanks for the clarification.
What is the draw for those who enjoy Scotch Whisky (or bourbon ect.)
Does it actually taste good to those who enjoy it?
Is a man thing?
If you make the effort to aquire a taste for it, it makes a huge difference.
I’ve only recently started exploring bourbon, and I can already tell you the difference between a shot of Jack Daniels and a shot of Woodford Reserve.
Of all the whiskeys I prefer a good Irish. And yes it is a taste thing, what else? And while I oft times have a bit of ice it’s best taken neat at slightly below room temperature in small wee sips.
Blue label all day all night 0_0
Not to be too nit-picky, but Jack Daniels is not Bourbon.
Read the bottle. It is a Tennesee Whiskey.
Bourbon is made in Kentucky.
Woodford Reserve is a very good bourbon.
I also like Jim Beam Black, another bourbon.
Okay, Makers Mark, too.
Anybody used to drinking Chivas or other “good stuff” can tell right away. I suspect in the example you mention, they certainly would have made the distinction in a side by side consecutive test.
If it’s from Canada or Scotland, the spelling is whisky. If it’s American or Irish, it’s whiskey.
As long as I’m not flying the same or next day, I am more than willing to carry out tests... as are most of my fellow pilots.
Famous Grouse is a much better blended Scotch whisky than Chivas.
Old Charter Ten and Glenlivit 18 are my favorites.