A Liquid Explosives Screening System capable of scanning unopened bottles for liquid explosives has been developed. The system can be operated to detect specific explosives directly, or to verify the labeled or bar-coded contents of the container. In this system nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) is used to interrogate the liquid. NMR produces an extremely rich data set and many parameters of the NMR response can be determined simultaneously. As a result, multiple NMR signatures may be defined for any given set of liquids, and the signature complexity then selected according to the level of threat.