To say that it was an indulgent purchase would be an understatement: A Chinese millionaire paid a record $10,050 for a shot of 1878 Macallan single malt scotch in July—except it turns out the alcohol was all of 40 years old. Eyebrows were raised about the veracity of Zhang Wei's purchase after photos were posted online of Zhang posing with the bottle and the manager of the Waldhaus Am See hotel; the Swiss hotel's Devil's Place whisky bar has a 2,500-bottle collection. The prime condition of the vintage bottle, and the wording on the label didn't add up, said doubters. They were right. The BBC reports a series of lab tests were performed and returned all-around negative results. University of Oxford researchers carbon dated the sample and say there's a 95% probability it was produced between 1970 and 1972.
And it's not even a single malt, as testing by alcohol analysts Tatlock and Thomson found it was a blend of 60% malt and 40% grain. Manager Sandro Bernasconi tells the Scotsman, "The result has been a big shock to the system, and we are delighted to have repaid our customer in full as a gesture of goodwill." The repayment was done in what's likely the most expensive way possible: SwissInfo.ch reports Bernasconi flew to Beijing to apologize and reimburse Zhang. The Daily Meal suspects the bottle is one of a batch of fakes that were so convincing Macallan actually purchased 100 such bottles in 2002. As for the story behind the man who felt comfortable paying so much for a nip of Scotch, he's a 36-year-old writer of online fantasy novels who reportedly made $16.8 million in 2015. (Here's why water improves whisky.)