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It is apparently one of the bigger pieces of whisky account of the accomplished decade; blame whisky has absolutely entered the branch of investors. The accretion of the acclaimed Zagatti accumulating by Scotch Whisky International (SWI) in 2014, a Dutch advance aing led by Michel Kappen, fabricated account about the world. The 20 clandestine investors abetment Kappen spent millions on the collection, which counts over 3,000 bottles, best of them acutely rare.

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Now, about three years afterwards the auction was finalised, Kappen lives up to the affiance he fabricated Valentino Zagatti with the aperture of The Unseen Valentino Zagatti Accumulating – a abiding exhibition in a clandestine architecture in Sassenheim, a Dutch boondocks aloof 15 account from Schiphol Airport. It was this agreement that ultimately fabricated Zagatti adjudge to advertise his accumulating to Kappen, rather than to addition party.

Zagatti’s absorbing accumulating ability not be the bigger in the apple – in Italy alone, the acreage of collectors, there are several that avowal a college canteen count. But allotment of what makes his accumulating arresting is the astronomic abyss and diversity. He calm aing to 300 altered brands, and at one point had 229 altered bottles of Glen Grant, a actual accepted cast in Italy.

However, it is the claimed adventure of Valentino Zagatti – now able-bodied into his eighties – that absolutely puts his accomplishment in a altered light. During the Additional Apple War, at the breakable age of 11, a landmine acquired irreparable accident to his vision. Despite this astronomic tragedy he never absent his joie de vivre, and in the years afterwards the war he set out to become one of Italy’s added acclaimed and admired accordion players, cutting up prizes at a ambit of festivals.

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Lifetime’s work: Zagatti signs over his collection, which charge break calm for at atomic 10 years

Until the backward ‘50s, Zagatti was a smoker, afire through about bisected a backpack a day, until one day he chock-full abruptly, and absitively to absorb his cigarette money on article added substantial. Anniversary ages he bought a altered canteen of liquor, absent to aggregate all spirit brands from every country in the world. This could be Cognac from France, grappa from Italy, or vodka from Poland, and of advance additionally whisky from Scotland. In 1960 he had calm 20 bottles, and the alpha of a constant attraction was born.

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‘When I started collecting, I never anticipation it would actualize so abundant absorption and so abundant curiosity’, Zagatti says in the documentary The Netherlands, Country of Whisky. ‘People alarm me up, or they bead by. Sometimes it’s like a anchorage here. This summer, bodies from Hong Kong visited me. Others came from Singapore, Moscow. I get lots of visitors.’

A axis point in his activity as a beneficiary came in 1972, back Zagatti realised he had set out on an absurd mission. Quality won over quantity, and from that point on Zagatti focused his activity on accession whisky. Or as he put it in his book, The Best Accumulating of Malt – Allotment Two: ‘Owning tens of bags of bottles doesn’t beggarly accepting a acceptable collection, but rather a abounding warehouse.’

Zagatti has never apparent alike a distinct canteen of his collection, about he is able to recognise about every one of them – if not by touch, again absolutely by date of purchase. He is adored with an amazing memory. A baby date sticker on the basal marks anniversary bottle. Tell Zagatti the date, and he will apperceive which canteen he is holding, alike if he has purchased added than one whisky on that date.

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‘Oldest bottle’: Kappen handles a canteen of 1843 whisky, anticipation to be the world’s oldest 

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Several decades in, Zagatti had fabricated a name for himself as a collector, which he again added anchored by absolution The Best Accumulating of Malt in 1999. In the book he showcased a ample allotment of his collection. Four years after he appear a additional volume. Both books accept been out of book for years, and over time accept become collector’s items in their own right, affairs at auctions for the agnate of a VERY appropriate canteen of whisky.

The acme jewel of the Zagatti Accumulating is a whisky bottled in 1843, which ability actual able-bodied be the oldest canteen of Scotch in the world. Not abundant is accepted about the whisky. Not whether it is a alloy or a malt whisky, let abandoned at which distillery it was distilled. The beat characterization is handwritten, and from the argument on it, you can accomplish out it was a bells allowance from a ancestor to his daughter, Atty.

Then there’s four bottles of Parkmore, anniversary of which will accomplish any whisky enthusiast blink twice. This absent Dufftown distillery bankrupt its doors in 1931, but the distillery barrio are clumsily able-bodied preserved. The above can’t be said for its whisky, as rumour has it that back the distillery shut down, the whisky was so poor that all the actual casks area smashed. True or not, it makes award four bottles of Parkmore in a distinct accumulating all the added special.

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A little over 10 years ago, Zagatti aboriginal started advertent affairs his collection. There was absorption from Italy, Japan and added places, but best were aloof absorbed in genitalia of the collection. Through his Dutch friend, absolute drinks adviser Ronald Zwartepoorte, he came in blow with Michel Kappen and Scotch Whisky International. Negotiations took the bigger allotment of four years. Not until it was promised that the accumulating would break calm for at atomic 10 years, to be displayed in a committed museum, did Zagatti assurance the contract.

Thorough collection: Zagatti accumulated over 300 altered brands, including these Macallans distilled in 1910

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All whiskies in the Zagatti Accumulating – acceptation every canteen included in the two Zagatti books from the about-face of the aeon – are displayed in the museum, except for a baby cardinal of fakes that were discovered. Working on a anew commissioned book about the collection, whisky biographer Hans Offringa and his wife Becky accept accurate all bottles in the exhibition. They did so with the abutment of best of the industry’s bigger companies, like Pernod Ricard, Diageo, Glenfarclas, Edrington, Gordon & MacPhail and J&A Mitchell & Co.

Located on the additional attic of the SWI building, at the centre of the exhibition space, is a custom-built canteen case, showcasing the oldest canteen in the collection, amidst by a aboveboard of four ample affectation cabinets captivation added adored whiskies. Among them the 12-year-old Port Ellen Queen’s Visit, as able-bodied as several editions of Black Bowmore, the above Parkmore whiskies, and abounding more. Alike added bottles are displayed in cabinets that band the walls of the amplitude from end-to-end.

As of appropriate now, the plan is to accomplish the architecture accessible to audience of Scotch Whisky International, who can use it for meetings, or artlessly aloof appear arrangement the collection. However, there’s allocution of aperture the architecture one Sunday anniversary month, to accord added bodies a adventitious to arrangement by appointment.

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The Unseen Valentino Zagatti Accumulating has angry out to be an exhibition aces of a man’s life’s work. For at atomic addition seven years – which is back the 10-year borderline of the collection’s auction passes – Zagatti’s accumulating is preserved. If you get the befalling to visit, don’t hesitate.

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