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Scientists create a 'tongue' that taste tests whisky

Worried that $150,000 bottle of whisky you just bought is fake? This tech is here to help.

Rene Johnston

Be afraid bartenders. Be very afraid. The machines are coming for you.

Scientists from Germany's Heidelberg University in a study published Thursday said they'd created sensors that, acting like a tongue, can distinguish between 30 different types of whiskys. 

Using fluorescent liquid, tubes, sensors and other scientific paraphernalia -- different whiskys affect the six different fluorescent solutions, which represent the six different receptors our tongue has, differently -- the team was able to tell where a whisky was from, its age and whether it's single, double or blended malt.

The researchers, led by Uwe Bunz, hope the technology can be used to fight counterfeit whisky. They point out that some whiskys can run up to 135,000 euros. That's about £118,550, AU$200,000 or $150,000 -- in other words, about $149,900 more than I'd ever pay for a bottle of whisky. "For this type of price, one might worry about counterfeits, but that could also apply at the low end of the quality spectrum, where large amounts of cheap alcoholic beverages and low-quality counterfeits are sold as branded Scotch," they note.