Fake booze: Millionaire spends $15k on phoney shot

  • 03/11/2017
Sandro Bernasconi and Zhang Wei with the worthless whisky.
Sandro Bernasconi and Zhang Wei with the worthless whisky. Photo credit: Sandro Bernasconi/supplied

Many of us have wished for our money back after an expensive night out, and now a Chinese millionaire's managed just that.

Zhang Wei spent almost 9999 francs (NZ$15,000) on a single glass of whisky at a Swiss hotel in July, believing it to be a 139-year-old bottle of Macallan 1878.

Not long after the eye-watering price made headlines, experts raised doubts about the vintage drop's authenticity. Among the clues were the cork - it looked too new - and the label, which bore a remarkable resemblance to a range of known fakes, which were exposed as such about 15 years ago.

Waldhaus Hotel manager Sandro Bernasconi said at the time the whisky would undergoing forensic testing, and his worst fears have now been proven true.

Scottish experts determined not only was the whisky from the 1970s, it wasn't even a single malt, the BBC reports.

Mr Bernasconi flew all the way to China to break the bad news, but said Mr Zhang wasn't upset.

"He thanked me very much for the hotel's honesty," Mr Bernasconi told the BBC.

The hotel gave Mr Zhang his money back, a sweet chaser for the bitter pill of disappointment.

Genuine Macallan whisky can sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars.