I am a bit concerned.
I started this blog-site just over two years ago.
Now there are a lot of people who think my life revolves around things whisky. Which it does quite a bit, I suppose, but by no means to the exclusion of other things.
From non-whisky friends (yes, I do have them) I receive emails with links to whisky-related items and articles. The link is often accompanied by a comment along the lines of “as soon as I saw this, I thought of you.”
It is great to know that they think of me, and I would not want to discourage them sending me stuff! Some of the items I get links to are absolutely fascinating. They can send me down the biggest, deepest, most convoluted rabbit holes imaginable.
One such link came recently from Michael. Michael strikes me as a learned person. I suspect he reads a lot, and absorbs all he reads. He has an extremely fine, extremely broad, extremely dry and straight-faced sense of humour coupled with a well-developed sense of irony.
Detecting Fake Whiskies
But the article Michael referred me to is neither funny or ironic.
The implications it raises are most unfunny and could be potentially expensive for someone.
It is a fascinating look at scientific developments around an increasing ability (and, sadly, a need) to identify counterfeit whiskies.
Not so much a rabbit hole as an entire industrial-strength warren!
The article is extremely interesting, given the prices people can pay for “collectables”.
One really attention-grabbing line in the article notes “a 2018 study subjected 55 randomly selected bottles from auctions, private collectors, and retailers to radiocarbon dating and found that 21 of them were either outright fakes or not distilled in the year claimed on the label”.
That is one-third of the bottles tested!
… an increasing ability (and, sadly, a need) to identify counterfeit whiskies.
The article has been written by Jennifer Ouellette, a senior writer on the ARS Technica website, a website for technical news. Ms Ouellette has very kindly given me permission to link to it from rantandwhisky.com.
And her article is the start of the rabbit warren.
The Artificial Tongue
From Ms Ouellette’s article there is a plethora of hyperlinks to such interesting things as the development at the University of Glasgow of an artificial tongue. The tongue is reportedly capable of distinguishing between different brands of whisky.
I can do that, but I suspect that the artificial tongue may be a bit more reliable!
As this second article notes, apart from identifying whiskies, the uses of the artificial tongue are potentially immense. For example, overseeing the quality control of industrially produced food and beverages, or for monitoring water supplies.
On the subject of rabbit holes, it is interesting to recall that the Source Of Truth in my youth was a thumb-breaking set of encyclopaediae (yes, that is the plural of encyclopaedia – I looked it up!).
I was talking to Kevin this morning and he claimed to have had a 24-volume set. Boy, did he ever know stuff!
But the limit of knowledge was always the back cover of volume 24.
Today’s rabbit holes are way better!
With the benefit of the internet and the hyperlink, knowledge today goes on for ever to the seventh son of the seventh son.
Admittedly not all of it is necessarily strictly accurate or good for you, but a little discernment can sort wheat from chaff.
More Fun Links
So here is another interesting link well worthy of note, sent to me recently by Geoff:
And if you follow the links on the right of that article, you can learn about the effects of Brexit on whisky, a new Yorkshire whisky, and a £1 million bottle of MacAllan featuring Charles MacLean.
I’m not too sure about whisky that has been aged for 24 hours, and I did have to look up what “minging” means. Thank you, Uncle Google: that would never have been in a 24-set encyclopaedia!
Eat your heart out, Alice in Wonderland. Today’s rabbit holes are way better!