Technology: an artificial “tongue” could help detect counterfeit whisky

Counterfeiting in the whisky sector has gained popularity lately. However a new technology could bring a ray of light to this problem.

Scientists at the University of Glasgow published a paper in the journal Nanoscale about an artificial “tongue” that tastes whisky.

Technology: an artificial "tongue" could help detect counterfeit whisky

The “tongue” can taste and differentiate whiskies and other liquids. In addition, it could work as a solution for checking fake whisky. “In addition to its obvious potential for use in the identification of counterfeit alcohols, it could be used in food safety, quality control, safety tests. Really any area where a portable and reusable tasting method would be useful”. Said Dr Alasdair Clarke.

In the article, published by the Royal Society of Chemistry’s journal, the engineers describe how they built the tiny taster. The device is created from the optical properties of gold and aluminium. These metals act as micro taste buds in the “artificial tongue”. Researchers dipped the tongue into whiskey and measured absorption.

To identify the different types of whisky the tongue makes a statistical analysis of the very subtly differences on how the metals absorb light. This factor allows the team to identify the differences.

The team used the tongue to test a selection of whiskies from Glenfiddich, Glen Marnoch and Laphroaig.  Consequently, the 99% of the samples were accurate.


Don’t drink and drive. Enjoy responsibly.


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