AN increase in fake vintage whisky has prompted experts to issue a warning to buyers over being duped by convincing copies after the world's most expensive dram was exposed as bogus.

'Fake booze!' - Camley's Cartoon

Laboratory tests revealed found the Scotch bought by a Chinese millionaire in a Swiss hotel bar for £7,600 was fake after analysts from Scotland were called in by the Waldhaus Am See hotel in St Moritz experts questioned the authenticity of the dram.

HeraldScotland:

David Robertson and Andy Simpson inspecting the cork

It had been purported to have been poured from an unopened bottle labelled as an 1878 Macallan single malt.

However, analysis found that it was almost certainly distilled after 1970.

World's most expensive dram of whisky exposed as a fake by Scots experts

The hotel said it had accepted the findings and reimbursed the customer in full.

Zhang Wei, 36, from Beijing - one of China's highest-earning online writers - had paid just under 10,000 Swiss francs - £7,600.

David Robertson, of the Fife-based analysis team RW101, said: "The Waldhaus team have done exactly the right thing by trying to authenticate this whisky.

'Fake booze!' - Camley's Cartoon

"Over the past year, we have been invited by numerous bottle owners and auction houses to assess suspicious bottles.

"Indeed, we’ve noticed an increasing number of old, rare archive or antique bottles coming to market at auction, and it’s difficult to know how prevalent this problem is."

HeraldScotland:

Whisky analysis at Tatlock Thomson

He added: “As with any purchase, we would recommend that each buyer does their research, assesses the bottle and its packaging presentation, and where they can afford to do so, send some of the liquid for technical evaluation and/or carbon dating.

"If you do have a pre-1900’s bottle we suggest it’s worth extracting a sample to prove if it is genuine or not."

World's most expensive dram of whisky exposed as a fake by Scots experts

Ken Grier from The Macallan brand owner, Edrington, said: “As the leading brand in the fast growing secondary market for rare whiskies, with an estimated 30 per cent share by value, we take this very seriously.

"We praise the work that our partners, RW101, are doing to bring awareness of any fraud to light. We would urge consumers to buy from reputable sources at all times.”

HeraldScotland:

Zhang tasting a dram of the Macallan 1878 with Waldhaus Am See Hotel Manager Sandro Bernasconi

Sandro Bernasconi, Waldhaus Am See hotel manager said: “When it comes to selling our customers some of the world’s rarest and oldest whiskies, we felt it was our duty to ensure that our stock is 100% authentic and the real deal. That’s why we called in RW101. The result has been a big shock to the system, and we are delighted to have repaid our customer in full as a gesture of goodwill.”

'Fake booze!' - Camley's Cartoon

The Scotch Whisky magazine reported that counterfeit whisky first appeared in volume at auctions in the 1990s, but it has only been in recent years, as more people invest in old and rare expressions, that instances of fake products have increased.