Rising prices mean investing in whisky is an increasingly popular investment option.
But the downside is that the market is now attracting the unwelcome attention of counterfeiters.
With the potential for fake whisky on the rise, online auctioneers Just Whisky will be travelling to venues across Scotland in November holding a series of free valuation sessions and advising customers on what’s fake and what’s not.
To coincide with the valuation roadshow, Just Whisky is launching a simple guide to help buyers invest safely and know the tell-tale signs of a fake. It aims to arm investors with the basic information needed to avoid forgeries and make intelligent investment decisions.
Crucially, the guide defines what a fake actually is. That can range from a basic label swap (taking a label from a more expensive bottle and transferring it to a cheaper bottle) to refilling an empty bottle with a cheaper whisky, to counterfeiters simply creating their own labels.
The guide also offers tips on what else to look for to avoid purchasing a fake in error.
For example, bottle codes can also be a very useful tool. Sometimes, on more modern bottles, the glass is imprinted with a unique code. Usually it’s a code printed directly to the glass, which the distillery will do as part of the bottling process, including information about where it was bottled, what time and even what the whisky is inside.
Sometimes, the difference between a £500 bottle and £3000 one will be a vintage identifier shoulder label. It may well say ‘1937’ or similar. Check that the label hasn’t been replaced as that’s one of the most common attempts at counterfeit.
But Just Whisky offers reassurance that there’s no need to be Sherlock Holmes when it comes to identifying the real thing.
Graham Crane, co-founder of Just Whisky, explained: ‘Paying attention to something as simple as the colour of the whisky is a simple but effective way of identifying that all is not well. Buyers should ask is the colour what they would expect – How does it compare with other sold examples?
‘Where a bottle is being sourced is also an indication of whether it may be fake. Is it from a reputable supplier, does it have a box and certificate as it should? If in doubt, always buy from a reputable source, then the buyer has some form of comeback. Auction houses will deal with any discrepancies swiftly as it is not in their interest to sell fakes or to damage their reputations.
‘Investing in an appreciating asset like whisky is both enjoyable but carries an element of risk when bought privately – for buyers parting with substantial cash, it is essential that it is the genuine article. Our roadshow and guide are designed to take some of the guesswork out of making what might be a very costly mistake.’
The Just Whisky Valuation Roadshow will be taking place in the following locations:
- Islay on 25 November at The Bowmore Hotel
- Glasgow on 27 November at the Hallmark Hotel
- Aberlour on 30 November at Speyside Whisky Shop
To register your interest to attend one of these events visit www.just-whisky.co.uk