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Adam Herz

I'm a writer/producer in Hollywood, but when I'm not busy with that, I'm one of the top U.S. experts on vintage spirits and counterfeit whiskey. Whiskey-related media examples: New York TimesInside Edition, EsquireRobb ReportWhisky AdvocateWhiskyCastBourbon PursuitLouisville News WHAS.

I love to pursue, collect, drink, and share all kinds of vintage liquors. I've also identified countless fakes residing in private collections (I stopped keeping tabs in 2015, when the value passed $1M). I've been flown across the country to evaluate ultra-rare bottles owned by prestigious estates. I’ve consulted with all the major U.S. auction houses and trained some of their specialists firsthand. I’ve investigated, identified, and exposed over a dozen people tied to whiskey counterfeiting, uncovered an inside job at a major Kentucky distillery, and worked with industry private investigators. I've even had heart-to-heart conversations with fakers who end up confessing.

If that sounds odd for something a guy does in his spare time, yeah, it is. It's just something I kind of fell into. I just don't want to see the whiskey hobby polluted by fakes, the way that entire sectors of collectible wine have been decimated by counterfeiters.

And by the way, I hate self-describing myself as an "expert," it's just the easiest shorthand for my experience and knowledge relative to others. The day that I can point to a dozen other people and say "They're way better than me on these topics" is a day I look forward to, 'cause this stuff is a pain.

You can also check out my new(er) facebook page Herz's Serious Whiskey Info where I occasionally discuss whiskey scams, fakes, and generally cool things to know.
 
As far as my tasting notes, in the last 8-9 years I’ve been taking far less notes than I once did... it just became more fun to simply enjoy stuff. May favorite thing to do is share whisky with friends and not worry about being super analytical. It's just a beverage. You drink it!

I also hold the Guinness World Record for owning the World’s Oldest Whiskey (details here).

Help Fight Fakes
  • DON'T SELL EMPTIES. Don't let your friends, or neighborhood bars and restaurants.
  • CALL OUT FAKERS AND SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY. Too many collectors just let it continue, afraid to "cause problems" by reporting bad actors.
  • DON'T RETURN FAKES. This should be obvious, yet many collectors return bottles to the seller, who feigns ignorance in exchange for a refund -- and resells the fake to another victim. If you end up with a fake, Sharpie the labels.
  • SOME FAKES ARE PERFECT, especially some Buffalo Trace products like Pappy Van Winkle. If I can't tell the difference, you can't. So-called "safety measures" involving rulers or laser codes are mostly worthless. Buy from trusted sources who share their real identities, legitimate personal details, and answer questions un-evasively.
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