Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Biggest whisky collection comes home

Susan Morrison, general manager of the Scotch Whisky Experience, and Claive Vidiz celebrate the arrival of the collection

The world’s largest collection of whiskies arrived safely in Scotland this week, brought home from Brazil by leading whisky manufacturer, Diageo.

Featuring 3384 bottles, the record-breaking collection was built up over 35 years by Brazilian whisky enthusiast, Claive Vidiz, who has scoured the world for whiskies to create the magnificent collection.

A unique treasure trove charged with memories, the bottles are currently being stored in a high security location in Scotland, after being shipped 6,500 miles from Sao Paulo on board container ship, the Monte Rosa.

A specially designed vault is being created at the Scotch Whisky Experience to display the Diageo Claive Vidiz Scotch Whisky Collection. The vault is part of a £2million investment at the five-star tourist attraction on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.

While the details of the terms of its sale to Diageo will remain under wraps, the unique collection is described by whisky experts as “invaluable” and ranges from the most popular whiskies to some of the rarest.

“To split up a collection which I have devoted more than 35 years of my life to would have broken my heart so I am truly thrilled Diageo has purchased it in its entirety. It is now in the hands of a company which is at the heart of the Scotch industry and I am certain they will cherish and develop the collection,” said Mr Vidiz.

“It is also wonderful to see it safely back in Scotland. We have an expression in Brazil - ‘the good son returns home’ - and in my view the collection is back with its family now,” he added.

Among the many rare bottles is a Strathmill single malt produced to celebrate the Speyside distillery’s 100th anniversary. One of only 100 bottles ever produced, this limited edition centenary malt was offered to a very select few – including various heads of state and, fortunately for the collection, Claive Vidiz!

A personal favourite of Mr Vidiz is Dimple Pinch, one of the first special editions of a Scotch Whisky ever produced. Bought in 1969 for US $1000, it was the most expensive limited edition bottle of Scotch Whisky on the market at the time.

Shipping the fragile cargo across the Atlantic took months of preparation, and each bottle was individually packaged by fine art specialists.

“We are delighted to have worked with Claive to bring this wonderful collection safely back to Scotland and to play a part in preserving its legacy and historic significance,” said Bryan Donaghey, Managing Director of Diageo Scotland.

“We are loaning the collection to the Scotch Whisky Experience where annually 200,000 visitors will be able to view the collection in its atmospheric vault.”

VisitScotland's Chief Executive, Philip Riddle said: "The return of such an important and interesting collection of Scotch Whisky to Scotland is fantastic news, particularly as we look forward to Homecoming Scotland 2009.

“The year long programme of events will give us all a chance to celebrate some of our greatest contributions to the world, including whisky. This collection is sure to be a great draw for visitors and locals alike, who will be able to enjoy viewing it at one of our premier five star visitor attractions."

The Scotch Whisky Experience team are delighted Diageo has chosen to display the collection at the centre where it will be a major highlight of the new-look tour. Visitors to the Experience will have the opportunity to view this unique and intriguing collection up close, 364 days of the year, from spring 2009.

No comments: