Law Enforcement Seizes Fake Johnnie Walker in Russia

The counterfeit whisky also sounds disgusting

Johnnie Walker Black
The genuine article.
Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

In 2022, Diageo shuttered its business in Russia in response to that country’s invasion of Ukraine. That decision didn’t do away with demand for the beverage giant’s various spirits, however — including Johnnie Walker. And that’s what brings us to the latest (metaphorical) installment of Law & Order: Whisky Crimes Unit, which involves a trip overseas and the sight of some very disgusting fake Scotch.

As reported by The Herald, Russian police recently conducted a raid on an industrial space near Moscow where some individuals were in the process of making counterfeit bottles of Johnnie Walker Black, along with a host of other spirits — with 3,000 bottles seized in the course of the raid. Bootleg spirits might be cause for alarm, but in this case, it may have been relatively easy to tell the faux Johnnie Walker from the genuine article.

As The Herald‘s David Leask writes, one of the counterfeit bottles “contained black oily bubbles,” as seen in a video made available by local law enforcement. Pro tip: if you’re about to drink whisky that has oily bubbles inside, you might want to reconsider that and opt for something else.

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Diageo ending its Russian business doesn’t mean a full stop to its products being available in Russia, however. An article published in The Drinks Business earlier this year chronicled the system of “parallel imports” by which products that are no longer dealing directly with Russia are nonetheless imported in via another country. (The article cites three examples: China, Turkey and Kazakhstan.) Putting a stop to this practice will be significantly harder than raiding a counterfeiting facility, unfortunately.


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