A laboratory in San Francisco claims its artificial whisky rivals the real thing. Glyph is the world’s first laboratory-made “whisky”, which its manufacturer, Endless West, says rivals the finest aged whiskies. Straight after it is distilled, whisky is clear, colourless and tastes just alcohol. Its hue and rich flavours are developed over years of ageing in barrels as the molecules from the wood bind to the spirit. Many of the best-known single malts are aged for around 12 years.
But Glyph goes from spirit to bottle in 24 hours. By using the same building blocks as conventional distillers, scientists at Endless West create spirits through a process called “note-by-note production”. The question now is: Can a test tube really match a barrel when it comes to taste? The Scotch Whisky Association says, “Adding flavouring to a spirit creates a flavoured spirit, not a whisky.” Under American law Glyph is not allowed to be called ‘whisky’ because of its unusual origins.