London: Cheers! Scientists in the UK have invented what they claim is a simple way to tell real Scotch whisky from fake.
A team at Strathclyde University in Glasgow blind- tested 17 samples of blended whisky, correctly identifying eight authentic and nine fake samples using an infrared spectrometer.
The hand-held device identifies the whisky by measuring whether the alcohol content matches the label and whether ingredients such as caramel colouring are present in the quantities expected, daily reported.
Prof David Littlejohn, who led the team, said the present method of checking authenticity involved laboratory- based analysis "which isn't always the most convenient system if a sample needs to be identified quickly".
He added, "We have developed a system that could be adapted for use on-site."
The whisky industry loses millions of pounds a year to black market traders, particularly in the Far East and in many other Asian countries.