That $1,000 Bourbon You Bought May Be a Phony.

“Counterfeiting — filling luxury bottles with cheap liquor — has hit American whiskey hard as sky-high prices raise the payoff for scammers. The scammers are finding fertile ground. “Luxury bourbon” was once an oxymoron; now, it’s the hottest thing in whiskey. Domestic sales of super-premium American whiskey — bottles valued over $50 — nearly doubled from 2016 to 2020, to four million cases, compared with an average growth of 30 percent for all American whiskeys, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.”

Read Barleycorn Society member Clay Risen’s latest in-depth NY Times piece tackling this new ever-growing problem within the spirits industry, and be careful out there.

Photo by Emon Hassan for The New York Times

For years, counterfeiters focused on faking bottles in the Pappy Van Winkle line, but have recently taken to passing off others, including A.H. Hirsch Reserve, Elijah Craig Barrel Proof, Blanton’s, Four Roses and George T. Stagg.

Clay Risen, is a reporter at The New York Times and the author of the forthcoming book Bourbon: The Story of Kentucky Whiskey. A leading authority on whiskey, he writes extensively on the subject for the Times and other outlets, and has written three previous books, including The Impossible Collection of Whiskey, Single Malt: A Guide to the Whiskies of Scotland and the bestselling American Whiskey, Bourbon and Rye: A Guide to the Nation’s Favorite Spirit. When he’s not writing about whiskey, he writes about American history, including, most recently, The Crowded Hour: Theodore Roosevelt, the Rough Riders, and the Dawn of the American Century.

A graduate of the Georgetown School of Foreign Service and the University of Chicago, Risen grew up in Nashville and now lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife and two young children. (photo credit Kate Milford)