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New test tells real whiskey from fake

July 25, 2011 at 6:41 PM   |   Comments

STRATHCLYDE, Scotland, July 25 (UPI) -- Researchers at a Scottish university say their simple test can identify the difference between authentic and counterfeit Scotch whiskey brands.

Researchers from the Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry at the University of Strathclyde have developed a method to compare the content of whiskey samples to determine if they are the whiskey on the label or an imitation brand, a university release reported Monday.

In a series of blind tests, the new method was successful in separating the knockoffs from the real ones.

The researchers analyzed 17 samples of blended whiskey, looking at the concentration of ethanol and colorants using mid-infrared spectrometry and immersion probes that incorporate novel optical fibers.

The procedure can provide quick, accurate analysis without the complexity and cost of some other systems, the researchers said.

"The whiskey industry has tools at its disposal for telling authentic and counterfeit whiskey 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," said Professor David Littlejohn, the research leader.

""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," he said.

"It could be of great benefit to an industry which is hugely important to the economy."

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