A hotel in Switzerland has had to embarrassingly reimburse a customer for over $10,000, after a vintage scotch, though to be the world’s most expensive, was shown to be a fake.
Chinese writer Zhang Wei paid 10,000 Swiss francs (£7600/$10,050) for 20cl of 1878 Macallan single malt at the Devil’s Place whisky bar at the Waldhaus Am See hotel in St Moritz back in July 2017. Reportedly the largest sum ever paid for a dram of Scotch, Wei’s expensive purchase drew worldwide attention.
But, after the story began to make headlines, whisky experts raised the alarm after spotting discrepancies in the label and cork. Samples of the whisky were sent to a lab in Scotland and the University of Oxford, who determined there was a 95% chance that it was in fact made between 1970 and 1972, the BBC reports.
What’s more, further tests showed it was likely a blend of 60% malt and 40% grain, and not a single malt at all.
The bottle had been bought by the father of hotel manager Sandro Bernasconi 25 years ago and had remained unopened. Bernasconi personally flew to China to reimburse Wei, who he described as not being angry. “He thanked me very much for the hotel’s honesty and said his experience in Switzerland had been good,” said Bernasconi.
Bernasconi said the lab results had come as a “big shock to the system.”
Had the bottle been genuine, it would’ve had a bar value of around 300,000 Swiss francs (£227,000/$300,000).