Many of the collectors featured on this armpit acquire brobdingnagian amounts of bottles. However, the all-inclusive majority of collections are private, and their owners are absurd to absorb strangers animadversion at their aperture for a cup of tea and a bore at their Springbanks.
But a few of the biggest, best cogent collections are on affectation for all to see. The eyes of the apple were on the Netherlands aftermost week, as an exhibition of Valentino Zagatti’s acclaimed whisky accumulating clearly opened to the public. But why arrangement a accumulating and absorb hours analytical ranks of bottles, aback you can neither sample nor acquirement what’s on the shelves?
For the accidental fan with four or bristles bottles in the cupboard, it’s an befalling to acquaintance what it’s like to go added bottomward the aerial hole. For those agog on whisky history, austere collections could accommodate allegorical bottles rarely apparent on the bargain block. Whether you’re an agog academic or aloof a analytical fan, these are the attainable libraries of whiskies accomplished you charge to apperceive about, in case you anytime acquisition yourself in Edinburgh, Venice or Färjestaden with time to annihilate and a appetite for knowledge.
Where: The Scotch Whisky Experience, Edinburgh, ScotlandSignificance: Arguably the best high-profile whisky accumulating in the worldSize: 3,384 bottles
Perhaps the best accepted Scotch whisky accumulating is that amounted by Claive Vidiz, a Brazilian agent who spent about four decades hunting bottomward attenuate bottles. He began accession in the 1970s, aback he’d aces up odd bottles on business trips abroad, but the collection quickly grew to quadruple figures. By 2006, and now able-bodied into his seventies, Vidiz awash his admired backing to drinks giant Diageo.
Since 2008, it has been on affectation at The Scotch Whisky Acquaintance on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, the company allure that has become abounding tourists’ aboriginal absolute acquaintance with Scotch whisky. ‘To apperceive it is actuality for bodies from all over the apple to see and adore gives me abundant happiness,’ says Vidiz. ‘I capital it to abide calm and to be attainable to the apple for bodies to apprentice from.’
When it was aboriginal apparent to the public it was misreported in the columnist as ‘the world’s largest’ whisky collection, which was not the case. However, in agreement of the collections on attainable display, few could altercate that Vidiz has created one of the best influential, and best viewed, Scotch whisky exhibits in the world.
Where: Auberge Skansen, Öland, SwedenSignificance: Guinness Apple Almanac for the best varieties of whisky commercially availableSize: 1,179 varieties attainable for purchase, over 10,000 bottles total
Ever absurd your absolute whisky bar? Booty a adventure in Färjestaden, a boondocks anchored on the Swedish island of Öland, and you’ll acquisition Auberge Skansen, which was afresh awarded the Guinness Apple Almanac for the ‘most varieties of whisky commercially available’. The auberge blanket the acme from Scotland’s Glenesk Auberge in June this year, and boasts a behemothic 1,179 altered whiskies attainable for acquirement by the dram.
Surrounding the bar’s varnished board tables and costly red sofas are shelves aloft shelves of whiskies both accepted and rare, with the best big-ticket – a Chinese bottling called Diaoyutai, according to Guinness – costing 9990 Swedish kr (£85,300) for the bottle.
Although the almanac is for absolute varieties rather than the cardinal of alone bottles, buyer Fredrik Norén claims his accumulating spans about 10,000 bottles in total. The best agitative canteen in the hotel? ‘Robert Brown Speciality,’ Norén says, ‘bottled on authorization for the Prince of Wales in 1895. It is actual attenuate and was on a ambush on the basal of the ocean for 107 years.’
Where: Scotch Whisky International, Sassenheim, NetherlandsSignificance: Accumulating of attenuate whiskies, including the ‘world’s oldest’ canteen of ScotchSize: 2,951 attenuate bottles
The Netherlands ability be the aftermost abode you attending for a allotment of whisky history, but the boondocks of Sassenheim is now home to a headline-drawing atom collection. Italian beneficiary Valentino Zagatti had been agilely accession attenuate bottles for three abode of his lifetime. Now able-bodied into his eighties, the Italian has awash his absurd accumulating to advance close Scotch Whisky International. The accumulating began publically announcement in October 2018.
An affected museum, the bright shelves amplitude the across and across of the room, centred annular Zagatti’s oldest canteen dating from 1843. Other cogent bottlings accommodate Macallans distilled in 1910, a 12-year-old Port Ellen commemorating the Queen’s arrangement to Islay in 1980, and an eight-year-old Bowmore Zagatti acquired for the agnate of a bald £13.
The Zagatti Accumulating began somewhat unceremoniously – he chock-full smoker and capital to absorb his money on article added abundant – but is now the accountable of three abstracted books and accurately apprenticed to break calm for at atomic 10 years. The exhibition is alone attainable to arrangement on the third Sunday of every month, by arrangement only, but you accept affluence of time to get a glimpse of this cross-section of whisky history.
Where: Ceggia, Venezia, ItalySignificance: Includes an about complete accumulating of Samaroli bottlings, additional every Black BowmoreSize: Between 20,000 and 25,000 bottles
From Valentino Zagatti to Bar Metro’s Giorgio D’Ambrosio, Italy is able-bodied accepted in the industry as a axis of austere whisky collectors. For proof, you alone charge to booty a abbreviate cruise alfresco Venice to Lion’s Whisky, the home of Diego Sandrin’s gargantuan collection. Every bank of the boutique is adorned with canteen cabinets abounding of attenuate curiosities, but alike that isn’t the admeasurement of it: Sandrin has captivated aback a few gems to accumulate at home.
‘Most of my accumulating is on affectation at Lion’s site, but I accept about 1,000 appropriate bottles at home – Macallans, etc,’ says Sandrin. ‘I accept the Springbank 1919, I accept the Port Ellen Queen’s Visit, 63-year-old Ben Nevis and all the Black Bowmores.’
However, Sandrin’s accumulating is best notable for his bottles from the acclaimed Italian absolute bottler, the backward Silvano Samaroli. Sandrin has accumulated 200 of Samaroli’s earlier bottlings with bright glass, and 150 added recent dark canteen bottles. These include a Laphroaig from 1970 active by Samaroli personally, a attenuate barillet backbone Springbank 12-year-old cardinal one, and four Bowmore Bouquets (one of which auctioned for over £25,000 this year). This is one of the best complete collections of Samaroli bottlings in the world, and absolutely one of the best accessible. Next time you’re in Venice, seek out this noteworthy accumulating for a attenuate account of the fervour of Italian collectors.
Where: Diageo, Menstrie, ScotlandSignificance: Unrivalled pieces of Scotch whisky historySize: 10,000 bottles (not all of which are whisky)
In the little Scottish apple of Menstrie lies an unparalleled accumulating of whisky memorabilia, a alpine white allowance abounding of bottles of all shapes and sizes, all advantageous admiration to drinks bunch Diageo’s library of brands. Although it’s usually bankrupt off to the public, Diageo does bandy attainable the doors to its accumulating already a year for International Scotch Day, giving it a bewitched vibe – a fantasy abundance abundance which alone opens on the Solstice or during a dejected moon. Make the expedition to Menstrie and you can see the collection’s ambit first-hand. Diageo has abundant assets to appoint a aggregation of six archivists to dig abysmal into the history books, tracking bottomward pieces and bottles that can’t be begin anywhere else.
‘When the annal was established, a lot of the absolutely old, abiding brands like Johnnie Walker, Buchanan’s and White Horse – what I alarm the old DCL/ United Distillers brands – did a absolutely acceptable job of befitting everything,’ annal administrator Christine McCafferty said in a Scotchwhisky.com interview in 2016. ‘Since then, we’ve been abacus to the collection, acquisition actual material, but additionally new items created to body an annal for the future.’
Although the accumulating is a abundance accession of admired pieces, including a John Walker & Sons decanter created for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, account £100,000, the best absorbing allotment is an 1870 canteen of Old Highland, the cast that became Johnnie Walker Red Label. It accustomed at the annal complete with a snake central the canteen that had been pickled in its contents. ‘We don’t apperceive why,’ mused McCafferty. ‘It absolutely larboard Scotland after a snake.’
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