Susanne Kuehne, Decernis
Food Fraud Quick Bites

Whisky Improves With Age

By Susanne Kuehne
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Susanne Kuehne, Decernis

And so does its price (if you are the lucky seller).

Whisky, food fraud
Find records of fraud such as those discussed in this column and more in the Food Fraud Database.
Image credit: Susanne Kuehne

Aged Scotch whisky can cost a fortune. For example, a bottle of Macallan Fine and Rare 60-Year-Old 1926 was auctioned off for $1.9 million. What a perfect target for counterfeiters! Nuclear science to the rescue: Scientists at the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Center have developed a method to determine a whisky’s age. The radioactive fallout from the detonation of atomic bombs in the 1950s and 1960s has enabled scientists to create a Carbon-14 calibration curve based on whiskies with known age.


  1. Gordon T Cook, Elaine Dunbar, Brian G Tripney and Derek Fabel (8 January 2020): “Using Carbon Isotopes to Fight the Rise in Fraudulent Whisky”. Cambridge University Press. Volume 62, Issue 1, February 2020, pp. 51-62

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Susanne Kuehne, Decernis

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