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  • Jancis Robinson
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  • Jancis Robinson
8 Jun 2012

Concerned by the recent pollution of the fine wine market by counterfeits (just put 'Rudy' in our search box…), and alerted to recent offers of fake malt whiskies supposedly bottled by them in the 1970s, Berry Bros are now offering an authentication service for their single malts. Bottles can be submitted to Berrys who will either issue a certificate of authentication or, if they prove fake, will destroy them.

Simon Berry, chairman of Berry Bros & Rudd, comments, 'Having seen the damage wrought in fine wine circles by a few unscrupulous individuals, some of whom are now facing criminal proceedings, I am adamant that we will do what we can to prevent a similar situation arising in the world of single malt whisky. We cannot purport to be experts in all whisky forgeries but we can be certain when it comes to our own Berry Bros' bottlings.'

The recent counterfeit whiskies were offered for sale from Italy, a particularly important market for single malts. One bottle was advertised as a single malt from the 1930s, and another from the 1940s; each carried a four-figure price tag in pounds. An examination of the bottles, cross-checked against Berrys' archives, immediately proved that neither was genuine and they were subsequently withdrawn from sale.

Questionable bottles should be sent to Berrys' spirits manager Douglas McIvor