Are you sure your whisky bottles are authentic?

How to avoid buying fake whisky

You might be thinking, "Singapore have fake whiskies meh?" And the short answer to that is- yes.

Despite the fact that Singapore is a relatively 'safe' country, there are still scams out there targeting unsuspecting victims.

Today, we are going to touch on how to spot a fake whisky, what to look out for and how these scammers get away with bottling fake whiskies.

Lastly, shopping with 3MK guarantees that your purchases are always 100% authentic.

CONTENT PAGE

01

Why there are fake whiskies in the market

02

How to spot & avoid buying fake whiskies

03

Where to shop for authentic products

Why are there fake whiskies in the market?

With the continuous increase in the value of rare whiskies, more scammers turn their attention towards exploiting the increase in interest of the rare whisky market. With bottles that easily fetch few hundreds on the low end to tens of thousands of dollars or more in the high end, its easy to imagine why scammers have been increasingly active in their attempts to cheat others in the world of rare whiskies.

How do they cheat collectors? Here are several ways scammers operate:

Refilled bottles- This is one of the more common cheats. Scammers refill a genuine bottle with a cheap blend and reseal the bottle, if there are no obvious signs of tampering with the closure, these can be difficult to spot.

Replica bottle- For bottles that are highly sought after, there may be fakes that are resealed with replica bottles. These are easier to spot as there may be more obvious details that differ from the original bottle. However, those who are untrained may still miss out on these tiny details and purchase the fake.

Look closely at the photo below, the fake (rightmost) has the 'R' (registered) icon beside the letter E in the Bowmore brand, a legitimate bottle has the 'R' above the letter E.

Whilst there are scammers with insidious intentions, some resellers do not sell fakes on purpose. There are retailers that practice parallel importing which is the act of bulk purchasing liquors from another country at a really cheap price so that they are able to competitively price their products. This practice makes it difficult to control the quality of the inventory and these resellers may find themselves selling fakes that slip through their checks.


How to spot & avoid buying fake whiskies 

There are countless ways that whiskies are faked and some signs can be really difficult to spot. Here are some of the more common signs to steer away from:

If you are purchasing a whisky with an ABV higher than 50%, give the bottle a shake and observe the ring of frothy bubbles that form. It should persist for 20-30 seconds and if it doesn't and instead disappears rapidly, it could mean that the whisky was refilled with something closer to 40% ABV. Image on the right shows the ring of frothy bubbles that would form in a whisky with 50% or higher ABV.

For more commonly faked items like the Macallan, there are some more telltale signs of fakes. In the newer bottling of Macallan whiskies, there is a QR code with a holographic Macallan logo embossed above it. If you scan the QR code, you will be taken to the official Macallan webpage of the bottle that you've purchased. This is harder for scammers to fake as the quality of the holographic logo will be different. Image below shows an authentic bottle of Macallan with the QR code and holographic logo.

How to avoid:

  • Consult a local professional- most collectors will be happy to help and they know their craft best, consult them if you have any doubts
  • Steer clear of deals that are too good to be true. If they are too good to be true, they probably aren't!
  • Do your own due diligence, if you are going to be spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on whisky, do some research online on how it is supposed to look like and perform necessary checks before handing your precious money to the seller. Things you should look out for is the color of the whisky, bottling details & signs of tampering on the bottle seal.
  • If you wouldn't trust buying a piece of gold jewelry from a stranger on the streets, there's no reason why you should trust strangers on shady platforms or ones that have new accounts with little to no reviews!

Where to shop for authentic products?

Case study of an actual occurence in Singapore. For those that do not believe that such scams could happen on our sunny island, this is a video by a whisky lover in Singapore who purchased 6 bottles of Macallan which turned out to all be fake. The holographic logo on the Macallan bottles were a giveaway, QR code did not work and the unique serial number of  the bottle was the same for all 6 bottles. This purchase was made with an instagram liquor shop in Singapore.

(Video for study purposes)


One way to avoid making the same mistake is to ensure that you are purchasing from a reputable shop! Make sure that the company is registered in Singapore and licensed to sell liquor. Alternatively, you can purchase your products from boutique stores like the Macallan boutique in Singapore. Also, 3mk guarantees that all of our products are 100% authentic and sourced from official retailers, so you can shop at ease with us!

To conclude, learn from the mistakes of others and if you feel that something might be off, trust your gut feeling and always remember to do your due diligence and consult someone with experience. While we are on that topic, if you have interest in the world of whiskies, we are launching a community for whisky lovers to discuss about anything whisky related! Simply click on this link to join our telegram community: https://t.me/+sQqqT-DSYgdlMDll

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