Analytical methods are required by trading standards and regulatory authorities to confirm the authenticity of Scotch whisky brands. The characteristics of Scotch whisky are strongly influenced by the cereals used in fermentation and by distillation, maturation and blending regimes. This leads to characteristic analytical profiles for various congeners, which can be used as reference points in authenticity analysis. Scotch whisky higher-alcohol profiles for specific brands were shown to be very consistent over many production batches and so their gas-chromatographic determination, together with the presence of other specific congeners, offered an effective approach to authenticity analysis. Pyrolysis–mass spectrometry followed by multivariate analysis of the resulting mass spectra enabled non-authentic samples to be discriminated from the authentic product. Hence, an increasingly sophisticated portfolio of analytical strategies are available in order to confirm brand authenticity.
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