9 Ways to Tell If the Whisky is Real or Counterfeit

There is always a fake brand somewhere on the shelves for every high-quality drink. Counterfeiting in whisky is growing fast, and most whisky drinkers don’t have the skills to find out whether their rare whisky bottle is real or just a fake.

Whenever you walk into a bar to take your favorite whisky drink, there are some tips you can use to find out if the drink in front of you is the real Kentucky bourbon whisky.

In this article, we hold your hand through the process of discovering real and counterfeit whisky drinks. Here are some tips for establishing whether your drink is real or fake:

1. Check the spelling on the label

Whenever you buy your favorite drink from the nearby liquor store, you must read the label on the bottle carefully. In most cases, counterfeit whisky drinks are not spelled correctly. For instance, Johnnie Walker should have ‘ie’ at the end and not ‘y.’

When your drink is reading Johnny Walker on the label, it’s probably a counterfeit. Sometimes you don’t need an eagle eye to spot a fake whisky drink when you buy one. It may just be evident in writing. Always check to confirm any spelling mistakes on the label before popping the drink.

2. Look at the packaging closely 

It is also easy finding out if the rare whisky is original by examining the packaging. The packaging should not look ordinary and dull like it’s a printed paper. A real branded whisky drink is normally decorated properly, and the sticker looks neat.

Most counterfeit whisky bottles have a dull label, and it is quite easy to spot one if you know the trick. In most cases, fake whisky bottles have different fonts from the original. So, when you’re shopping for your favorite whisky drink, you must confirm that the packaging is legit. Confirm with your friends, not the seller, to determine if you’re paying for the right product. You can also visit the manufacturer’s website to countercheck the drink’s specifics before purchasing from third-party vendors.

3. Check for barcodes and duty stamps 

Almost every imported alcohol drink weighing above 350 ml must have a unique duty stamp and barcode. You’ll find the duty stamps on those weighing above 750 ml for wine, beer, and hard liquor. You can check the barcode using your phone.

There are plenty of barcode checker apps you can install on your mobile phone and use to scan the barcode and find out if the drink you’re buying is original. Most counterfeit whisky drinks will normally have a fake barcode and no duty stamps.

4. How much is the drink?

When the deal is too good, you have to think twice. The price of a fake whisky can be way down the original one because the distillers don’t spend a lot to make the whisky. Price on the bottle is one way of finding out whether you’re buying a genuine whisky or not.

Your favorite bar can be offering fake drinks to customers on a special offer or ‘free drinks’ to lure customers in some cases. When you’re drinking on a special offer, you should confirm that the drink on the table is genuine. Think of it this way; what business can afford to give customers whisky, wine, and champagne at half price? Every business is out there to make profits. Don’t buy your whisky on special offer from local bars if you want to drink originals. Check the market price of the drink in your local area and make comparisons before purchasing.

5. Is the bottle recycled?

There is another trend that most fake distillers use to pass counterfeit whisky into the market. The vendor buys original whisky bottles from clubs and bars and fills them with fake whisky drinks. It is not easy telling if such drinks are fake since the bottle and the label confirm that it is original. So, what should you do? Simple; check the manufacturing and expiry date. If the dates seem too long, then the bottle is likely a recycled one.

Always check the expiry dates if you want to confirm that you’re drinking original whisky. The dates are indicated on the sticker and sometimes on the bottle cap.

6. A look at the texture and color 

If you’ve been drinking whisky and bourbon for some time, then you probably know the actual color and texture of this popular liquor. Real bourbon should be brown because it comes into contact with charred barrels while aging. Straight whisky is dark brown because and comes with strong notes of caramel, vanilla, and oak. The unique color and taste of bourbon whisky make it easy to spot a counterfeit when you see one on the counter.

When you doubt the color of the drink you’ve just bought, you could be right. If the drink is a bit light or just too dark, it is more likely to be a fake whisky. Pure whisky should not have any particles and layers on it.

7. Sniff through the liquid before purchasing 

You know how authentic bourbon whisky smells, right. Now, before tasting the whisky or paying for the drink, you have to sniff it a bit and get the smell.

Grains are the primary raw materials used in making bourbon whisky. So, when you breathe through the liquid, you should be able to get the smell of at least one cereal used in making it, like barley, rye, wheat, and corn. If the drink gives aromatic flavors like butterscotch, vanilla, honey, and caramel, you hold the real bourbon whisky. Real whisky should not smell like turpentine, varnish, and some lab chemicals.

8. The burning sensation is more of chili 

When the drink burns like chili on sipping, it is not original whisky. Whisky has a unique heat to spice it up. However, most fake whiskies contain chemicals and other flavors to mimic the unique taste of bourbon whisky.

The burning sensation in whisky should not be that hard to bear as the drink goes down your throat. The burning sensation of quality alcohol fades away quickly as you drink more. If you get an intense burn when you drink the whisky, then it’s probably a fake.

9. It gives you the worst hangover 

A hangover is the worst part of drinking alcohol. You are likely to have the worst hangover the following day when you drink a fake whisky. Most fake whiskies are made of chemicals that may cause you a severe hangover.

If you feel like someone has hammered with a brick on your head, you should never take a drink from that bar again. You are probably drinking fakes in your favorite bar.

Final Thoughts 

If bourbon whisky is your go-to drink after a long day at work, you need these tips to spot the real one. There are many fake whisky drinks in the market, and it takes eagle eyes to spot them before spending your money. You can learn how to taste whisky if you want to confirm that you are drinking genuine Kentucky bourbon.

Fake and cheap whisky is harmful to your health. There are cases where drinking contraband whisky has resulted in nervous system and liver issues. You can even lose your life by drinking counterfeit whisky and other alcoholic drinks. Always use the tips we’ve shared here to establish whether your drink is genuine or the waiter is fooling you with some fake.

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