Did You Know
Did You Know
Zhang Wei with hotel manager Sandro Bernasconi after buying the scotch.
GENEVA: Talk about needing a refund.
A shot of Macallan whisky purportedly made in 1878 that a Chinese man paid US$10,000 for at a Swiss hotel was actually distilled between 1970 and 1972, local media reported on Friday (Nov 3).
In August, the young customer entered the Devil's Place Whisky Bar at the luxury Waldhaus Hotel in St. Moritz, northeast Switzerland, and expressed particular interest in rare Macallans.
The bar, which has a whisky collection honoured in the Guinness Book of World Records, had 47 options, ranging from seven Swiss francs to ten grand per glass.
The bottle of Macallan whisky, a glass of which cost a Chinese man US$10,000 in July,
The customer chose the bottle marked as an 1878 vintage, which went for 9,999 Swiss francs (US$10,000) for a two-centilitre measure.
The proprietor of the Waldhaus, Sandro Bernasconi, told BBC his father had bought the bottle 25 years ago when he was manager of the hotel. It had not been opened since.
"When Mr Zhang asked if he could try some, we told him it wasn't for sale. When he said he really wanted to try it, I called my father who told me we could (end up waiting) another 20 years for a customer like that so we should sell it," the news outlet cited Bernasconi as saying.
He then opened the bottle of whisky and drank some with Zhang, who wrote about his experience on Chinese social networking platform Weibo a few days later.
"When I came across a fine spirit from over 100 years ago, there wasn't much struggle inside. My grandma, who accompanied me on the trip, was only 82 yet the whisky was 139 - same age as her grandma," he wrote.
Zhang also said the whisky had a "good taste".
Mr Zhang detailed his experience purchasing the shot of whisky in a post on Chinese social network Weibo in August.
Experts were not convinced of the bottle's authenticity.
According to the Swiss news site 20minuten.ch, specialists at Rare Whisky 101, who regularly serve as consultants at whisky auctions, established that the bottle's label was a fake.
The proprietor of the Waldhaus, Sandro Bernasconi, then travelled to Beijing and refunded the customer to prove that "the Swiss are honest people and do not engage in scams", 20minuten quoted him as saying.
The site also published a photo of the two men holding a symbolic voucher valued at 9,999 Swiss francs, dated October 2017.
Bernasconi said the bottle with the fake label was bought 25 years ago by his father who previously ran the hotel. "This whole time, we never doubted that the bottle was an original," Bernasconi told 20minuten.