Telltale signs of counterfeit liquor to look out for


Producing, packaging and selling liquor is a lucrative business, so there’s no wonder that there are many people who want a piece of the pie. However, there continue to be cases of some dodgy players in the market who sell counterfeit alcohol. Drinking these fake alcoholic beverages is not only harmful to your health but also causes a bad reputation for brands among drink lovers.

In today’s post, we are discussing some expert tips for spotting fake alcohol for the rum, vodka and whisky loving crowds.

Things to check on the packaging

If there’s one thing counterfeiters around the world cannot seem to get right (and it’s a good thing), it is the content and packaging part. Look for the following errors on the packaging if you suspect the liquor’s genuineness.

  • The spelling of the brand’s name and adjoining information. For example, names like Chivas Regal often turn into something like Chivas Rigal or Johnnie Walker is funnily spelt as Johnny Walker.
  • Examine the neatness of graphics on the packaging, fake liquor bottles often feature hazy looking graphics, especially around logos and crests.
  • Imported liquor bottles larger than 350 ml are required to have duty stamps, so that’s another way to check a fake liquor bottle. Also, you can use a bar code scanning app to verify the authenticity of a suspect liquor bottle.
  • If your favorite premium whisky’s price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Counterfeiters often make the mistake of writing the discounted price on the label, which should raise an immediate red flag.
  • You can also check for manufacturing and expiry dates to identify a re-packaged liquor bottle. If the date of manufacturing seems too long ago, it’s probably a recycled bottle with fake liquor because whoever’s heard of a bottle of fine whisky left untouched for so long, right?

Check the texture of the liquid

If the newest bottle of your favorite whisky is not looking as appealing as it should, perhaps the liquor is fake. You can either tell the difference by using your ‘whisky lover instinct’ or pick up an older bottle that’s still holding a peg or two for referencing the color and texture of the liquid to identify fake liquor.

Sniff and tell the difference

There is an alternative purpose to creating those liquor aromas, they are very hard to replicate without having the original recipe. Most fake liquors lack the different layers of sensory goodness that emanate from a perfectly blended whisky or wine. If the liquor smells like nail varnish or turpentine, it’s fake.

Identify the taste and burn

Alcoholic beverages have a natural heat and spiciness to them, but the fake ones go off the charts to mimic this sensation using chilies and strong chemicals. Also, if you have a favorite brand of whisky, you will most likely know how it tastes. If the whisky you ordered tastes terribly spicey, it may just be a fake.

If you have a massive hangover

While alcoholic beverages have a flip side, that they may cause a hangover after a late-night bash, it’s also one of the ways you can identify fake liquor. Since counterfeit whiskies and rums are made from chemical substitutes, they cause a hangover that feels like a smack at the back of your head. So, if your regular dose of whisky has caused an unexpected hangover, check the bottle for signs of tampering.

So, those are some ways you can check a liquor bottle to avoid being duped into buying fake liquor. On top of that, we advise you to always buy liquor from trusted/authorized sources and when you spot a fake liquor bottle, make sure you report it for the interest of the larger drinking community. Cheers!