While the powerful after effects of Jack Daniel's whiskey are known to many, for officials in Russia's mountainous Sverdlovsk region, there is something more sinister than alcohol lurking in the honey-colored brew.
A regional branch of Russia's state food safety watchdog found "chemical substances not common to whiskey" in Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey Liqueur, an agency spokesperson told the ITAR-Tass news agency late last week.
The agency also had issues with the honey-flavored drink's more common sibling, Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey. Under Russian law, alcohol packaging should include a list of ingredients written in Russian, the location where it was brewed, and the length of the distilling process — all of which Jack Daniel's lacks, the spokeswoman said.
Responding to suspicions that the whiskey in question may have been fake — state statistics indicate 9.9 million liters of fake whiskey may have been sold in Russia in 2013 — a spokesman for the region's customs service defended the results.
"According to our information, the alcohol products on the Sverdlovsk region market are original," the spokesman said, adding that no imports of counterfeit U.S. alcohol to the region have been recorded for at least a year and a half.
The regional authorities are continuing their inspection and plan to confiscate the Jack Daniel's whiskey currently in circulation, the food safety watchdog's spokeswoman said.
Earlier this month, imports of Kentucky Gentleman bourbon, another popular U.S. alcohol brand, were suspended by Russia's consumer protection watchdog. The agency said that it had discovered phthalates — organic chemicals — in the bourbon.
The food safety and consumer protection agencies, both known as pliable instruments of Russian foreign policy, also launched investigations of popular U.S. fast-food chain McDonald's in July.