Tuesday 25 November, 2014

How to tell authentic Scotch whisky from counterfeit brands

Published On: Tue, Jul 26th, 2011 | Chemistry | By BioNews

Scientists at Strathclyde have developed methods by which authentic Scotch whisky can be differentiated from counterfeit brands.

Researchers from the Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry have found new ways to compare the content of whisky samples to determine if they are the whisky on the label or an imitation brand.

“The whisky industry has tools at its disposal for telling authentic and counterfeit whisky brands apart but many of them involve lab-based analysis, which isn’t always the most convenient system if a sample needs to be identified quickly,” Professor David Littlejohn, who led the research, said.

“There’s a growing need for methods that can provide simpler and faster identification and we have developed a method which could be adapted for devices to use on site, without the need to return samples to a lab.

“It could be of great benefit to an industry which is hugely important to the economy,” he said.

The researchers analysed 17 samples of blended whisky, looking at the concentration of ethanol in the samples without diluting them and the residue of dried whisky.

They did so with mid-infrared spectrometry, used with immersion probes that incorporate novel optical fibres developed by Scottish based company Fibre Photonics Ltd who co-sponsored the research.

The procedures developed can provide prompt, accurate analysis without the complexity and cost of some other systems.

The levels of ethanol and colourant led them to identify correctly the eight authentic and nine counterfeit samples.

The project research paper has been published in Analytica Chimica Acta.

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