Bottles and bottles and bottles of whisky…

We nearly missed it… or did we?

Leaving Uni on the Wednesday night, I receive a phone call from Lucas. We were planning to go to a whisky tasting (soon to be written about by a guest blogger) and I assumed Lucas was just confirming times. Not so! He dropped what we think is one of the most exciting things to happen to our humble little blog so far. We were both invited to the photo call for the unpacking of the Diageo Claive Vidiz collection at the Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh on Thursday morning! It was a short notice and it forced us to be a little restrained at the tasting that night (our hosts were not as cautious, you will hear about that interesting night soon), but we were not going to miss this for the world!

To quote Lucas ‘The name of our Blog is Edinburgh Whisky. We have to be at this event!’

Now if you are wondering; what are these guys so excited about? Who’s Claive Vidiz? How can Chris and Lucas be so attractive and intelligent? Well, I can answer two of these questions.

Claive Vidiz

Claive Vidiz is a Brazilian businessman. About 35 years ago, one of his employees brought him a gift of a case of whisky back from his travels to Scotland. This is where it all began. He started collecting all sorts of different bottlings of Scotch. His collection grew so large that he became famous for it and companies were actually sending him more bottles! His storage facility was in Sao Paolo, and he exhibited the whiskies there.

His collection is now certified by the Guinness Book of Records as the largest whisky collection in the world. The collection eventually became too big and Mr. Vidiz felt it was time for the ‘good son to return home’. Diageo gladly bought the entirety of the collection for an undisclosed fee (If I had the cash, I would have done the same). Diageo are loaning the collection to the Scotch Whisky Experience (SWE) who are currently refurbishing and building a new guided tour to suit this purpose. To quote Alistair Mackintosh, Deputy Chairman and Founder of the SWE ‘ the collection will be the jewel in the crown of the new tour’.

The Sighting

Lucas and I arrived that morning (I was slightly late, I was perhaps not as restrained as Lucas the night before) and we made our way into the SWE to where they are storing the collection. As soon as we walked in, we were completely overwhelmed. Bottles and bottles and bottles of whisky, plus hundreds of crates still waiting to be opened. And this was only half of the collection! The whole thing is 3,384 pieces. The SWE staff were hard at work unpacking, cleaning and numbering every bottle. An epic task, not helped by us from the press standing about!

While Lucas was taking some fantastic photos, I wandered around (trying hard not to kick anything over) and looked for interesting bottlings. This is what I found:

  • Friar John Corr Blend: whiskies in the blend add up to the total 500 years, to commemorate half a millennium since Friar John Corr’s record of production of aqua vitae was written in 1494.
  • Ancient Bottle of Dewars: Some of the label is torn, half the Whisky is gone due to the stopper deteriorating so it is hard to determine the exact age. The earliest date written on it is a prize it won in 1904. Wow!
  • Monsters Choice: It looks like a hand drawn label depicting Nessy. This is one cool bottling.
  • Premiers 15 Years Old Whisky: Produced for each Prime Minister. The collection had 3: Churchill, Thatcher and Disraeli.
  • Johnnie Walker 150th Anniversary Edition: Not very many people have a bottle of this. Whisky comes with a lead crystal decanter.
  • Johnny Walker Deco: Perhaps not as rare but interesting, the bottle shape was designed to be appealing to the Ladies. Wasn’t a big success for some reason.
  • Original Blair Atholl Flora and Fauna: One of these sold the other day for a grand! Nice and rare.
  • Fauchon Whisky: A French release. Not sure what ‘Fauchon’ means, but it sounds funny.

There are also some really quirky bottlings including:

A curling stone shaped bottle, a grouse, a golf cart, a football and soon to arrive, a model of a lorry. Crazy!

Overall, what a collection! Lucas and I could have stayed there for hours and looked at it. And this is only the first half! I am sure Lucas saw some ridiculous whiskies I didn’t see. Over to you big guy.

Chris

****

What an experience that was indeed, Chris. I could have easily spent all day there. Ross Morris showed me a bottle from 1901! And apparently that’s not the oldest one yet. Oh, and there was that whisky that came in a metal and crystal claret decanter too. What a bizarre thing, no label, we still don’t have a clue what that was.

It is interesting how they will manage the collection from the technical point of view. First of all, they are building huge glass cabinets for it. It will fill vast space and will weight tonnes and tonnes, so they had to reinforce floors in the building! They also need special lighting… and a long list of security measures if you ask me. Looking forward to seeing the whole lot displayed, should be jaw-dropping.

We were invited to visit them again on Wednesday, the second half of the collection will be arriving at 7am and they asked if we could help. This is history of whisky in making I am sure, but 7? We will think about this…

Lucas

Comments

  1. This is super exciting! Do you know how long it’s going to be on show for? Hopefully I’ll get chance to see it sometime!

  2. Dont worry, you have time. The last I heard the collection is going to be lent to the SWE for at least 10 years.

  3. As far as I’m concerned it will be there permanently so you shouldn’t miss it ;)

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