An experimental method to unambiguously distinguish between uniaxial and biaxial liquid crystal phases is introduced. The method is based on the second order quadrupole shift (SOQS) observable in 131Xe NMR spectra of xenon dissolved in liquid crystals. It is shown that besides revealing the biaxiality, the 131Xe SOQS offers a novel method to determine the tilt angle in smectic C phases. As an example, the 131Xe SOQS in a ferroelectric liquid crystal is reported. It yields up a biaxial phase in between isotropic and smectic C phases.