Researcher Invents An Artificial Tongue That Can Detect Fake Whiskey

Time to stop getting ripped off by fake whiskey brands hidden as something expensive! Uwe Bunz, who is a researcher at the University of Heidelberg, has invented a ‘synthetic tongue’ that can help identify a whiskey’s brand, age, blend and even country of origin with great accuracy!

While the technology can’t detect an unknown sample, it is capable of comparing a whiskey to other known samples and give some useful relative data.

“If you buy a crate of expensive whiskeys,” he said, “you can test if they are actually what you think they are.”

The chemicals being hailed as an “artificial tongue” are actually a fluorescent solution, which when mixed with a whiskey sample gives you enough data to judge its worth.

“Our human tongue consists of 6 or 7 different receptors — sweet, salty, bitter, sour, umami, and hotness — and they’re able to identify food by differential reactions of those elements,” Bunz explains.  “The combination of differential receptors gives you an overall taste impression of what you eat.”

In a test, the solution gave a unique reaction to the 33 different whiskeys samples, proving the technique’s worth in testing the authenticity of your drink. Now Bunz is looking to create a synthetic tongue for red wine and is hopeful that his technique can be used in multiple applications such as testing counterfeit drugs and perfumes etc.

Fake whiskey has turned into a big dollar business over the few years. Earlier in 2017, a 41-year-old man was arrested in London after he was caught selling thousands of pounds of fake spirits at online auctions. The police raid on his house revealed hundreds of whiskey bottles that were being refilled with cheaper alcohol.

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