Feeds

Atomsmasher boffins probe duff whisky deluge

Mm, yes, that one's fake too. Put it in my desk

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Whisky aficionados are using radiocarbon dating to verify the age of expensive vintages, according to reports. Boffins at the National Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, tasked with checking out various top-end tipples, say that fakes are more common than not.

Dr Tom Higham, talking to the Telegraph, said that he and his team can get best precision with drams distilled since the extensive atmospheric atom-bomb tests of the 1950s. The old-time enthusiasm for letting off nukes above ground heightened levels of atmospheric carbon-14, allowing radiocarbon dating to get a good fix on whiskies made from barley grown in the Cold War era or later.

"It is easy to tell if whisky is fake as if it has been produced since the middle of the twentieth century, it has a very distinctive signature," Dr Higham told the Telegraph.

"With whiskies that are older, we can get a range of dates but we can usually tell which century it came from. The earliest whisky we have dated came from the 1700s and most have been from 19th century.

"So far there have probably been more fakes among the samples we've tested than real examples of old whisky," he added.

Apparently Higham and his team test samples of whisky by burning them and then bombarding the resultant exhaust gases with charged particles so as to measure levels of carbon-14. In one high-profile case they recently unmasked a putative bottle of 1856 Macallan Rare Reserve which had been expected to fetch £20k at auction. However it turned out to be merely fifty-year-old rubbish made in 1950.

In South Korea, all premium whisk(e)y has a government-approved RFID tag on it, allowing drinkers with suitably-equipped phones to check up on the provenance of their chosen alcoholic treat. However this doesn't seem as authoritative a method as having some boffins check it out with an atomsmasher.

Read all about it from the Telegraph here. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis
Musk charging nearly half as much as Boeing for crew trips
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
India's MOM Mars mission makes final course correction
Mangalyaan probe will feel the burn of orbital insertion on September 24th
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.