A $10,500 dram of ‘vintage’ whisky bought by a successful Chinese writer from a hotel in Switzerland in July was a fake, laboratory tests have revealed.
Zhang Wei, 36, purchased the 2-centiliter shot from the bar at the Waldhaus Am Hotel in St. Moritz, eastern Switzerland, believing it to be from an unopened bottle labelled as an 1878 Macallan, a single malt Scotch whisky. Instead, the tests revealed that the bottle was more likely to have been created between 1970 and 1972, Bloomberg reports.
Former hotel owner Claudio Bernasconi had bought the Macallan bottle 25 years ago for a five-figure sum, local news reports. “I’m a bit disappointed, but we wanted to know the truth. It’s important and very nice for us that the guest is not mad at our hotel,” his son, Sandro Bernasconi, told the news site.
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The hotel has reimbursed Wei in full and Sandro Bernasconi is consulting with a lawyer about whether or not the five-figure sum he purchased the bottle for could be refunded. “Nothing is decided yet,” he added.
Suspicions about the bottle’s authenticity surfaced when experts spotted discrepancies in the bottle’s cork and label from newspaper articles, according to the BBC. Had the bottle been genuine, it would have been worth nearly $30,000.
In May this year, Britain’s Daily Telegraph reported that Zhang Wei, who writes under the pseudonym Tangjiasanshao, had claimed the title of China’s highest-paid online writer for the fourth time.