It doesn’t take long but anything of value is bound to be counterfeited. Whether it’s money, designer handbags, or scotch, being able to tell the genuine articles from the fakes is important whenever you’re about to part with your money. Much like you wouldn’t expect to see a fake one dollar bill, chances are you won’t see many fake budget scotches. However, when you consider that your average 12 year old single malt Scotch is going to run at least $30-35, there is a little incentive to make fakes. The real money is made on higher dollar bottles though (why fake a $35 bottle when you can fake a $350?).
That being said, there is now a technique, developed at the Strathclyde University in Glasgow, that can detect whether a sample is a fake or the real deal. It doesn’t use expensive lab-analysis techniques (or testing for radioactive material!), it just tests for levels of ethanol and colorant. They tested a small sample size of 17 blended whiskies and were able to find the eight authentic and the nine fake samples.
While I doubt we’ll see many fake Glenlivet 12’s floating around, this does change the game for counterfeiters.