Authentication and Quality Testing of Distilled Spirits Using the SPECTROstar Nano

Gary Spedding, Brewing and Distilling Analytical Services, LLC, Lexington, KY, USA; Carl Peters, BMG LABTECH, Cary, NC, USA, 01/2015

Alcoholic beverages that are produced by distillation are called distilled beverages. Some known distilled beverages include vodka, gin, tequila, rum, and whisky. Beer, wine, and cider are excluded from this category as these are fermented but not distilled.

The distilled beverages industry is expanding, indicated by the constant release of new products. On the other hand, counterfeiters as well as cases of adulteration and dilution of distilled spirits and liqueurs are also on the increase. It would be of great advantage to find an easy way to test distilled spirits for authentication.

One possible method is to take UV-Vis absorbance spectra from the liquid samples. Recently, it was shown in literature that these spectra work as brand “fingerprints”. There is, for example, a clear difference between a whiskey that has aged in wood compared to an unaged whiskey.

A convenient way to measure UV-Vis absorbance spectra and to perform a quality control check is achieved by using the SPECTROstar Nano. This microplate and cuvette reader offers rapid and efficient spectral analysis measurements. The associated MARS data analysis software stores all spectral data in a way that the creation of specific spirit fingerprint libraries is possible.