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The Man Behind The World's Most Expensive Whisky Collection

A Vietnamese whisky collector has been confirmed by Guinness World Records as the owner of the most valuable whisky collection. 

Viet surrounded by his whisky

The world-beating collection belongs to businessman Viet Nguyen Dinh Tuan of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and has been valued by whisky valuation company, Rare Whisky 101, at a hammer price of £10.7 million.

It comes at a time when Knight Frank’s 2019 Wealth Report says whisky is now the top luxury collectible for High Net Worth Individuals. Sales of rare whisky have risen 40 per cent over the last 12 months, according to the report. In October headlines were made by the record-breaking sale of The Macallan 1926 at auction for £1.5 million (although the buyer in this instance was not Viet.)

 Viet's passion for collecting started in 1996, when he was in his mid-twenties.

"Upon visiting a whisky store, I was introduced by the owner to a bottle of 21 year old Royal Salute 1953 21 Year Old Green Flagon, launched to commemorate the second Queen Elizabeth's coronation, of which there was only one bottle available in the shop. Buying this bottle inspired me to start a collection, which has been my passion now for more than 20 years," he told Billionaire.

Now aged fifty, Viet says he drinks whisky every day but never touches the bottles from his collection, which comprises 535 of the world’s rarest bottles of Scotch and Japanese whisky. They are locked securely in a bespoke whisky lounge at home. 

As well as several other bottles of Macallan 1926, Viet’s collection also holds one of only twelve bottles of the oldest Bowmore ever released, which also happens to be both the most expensive Bowmore and the most expensive Islay malt in the world, with a similar bottle fetching £300,000 at auction recently.

From Islay to Campbeltown, the collection also includes one of only twenty four bottles of the 1919 vintage Springbank. A similar bottle sold recently for £220,000 making it the world’s most expensive bottle of Springbank.

Viet says he has no intention of reining in his passion. “For me, whisky collecting has been my life’s passion. Every spare I moment I get, I’m searching auction sites and trading websites to find famous and rare whiskies from around the world. Clearly this requires a lot of patience and no shortage of tenacity, but I’m proud of my efforts. As for my collection, I have no intention of selling any of it. Not one bottle. In fact, I’ll continue to hunt for more old and rare bottles and add to and enrich it.” He adds that he was "surprised" to be named the world record holder. 

Rare Whisky 101 arrived at the collection’s valuation by determining each bottle’s expected open market price; in effect what the collection could realistically be expected to fetch if sold at auction within the UK in the current market. The valuation was subsequently submitted to Guinness World Records, who confirmed the feat by certification in November this year.

Andy Simpson, co-founder of Rare Whisky 101 said: “We were somewhat gobsmacked, not to mention a little envious, when we realised the breadth and depth of Mr Viet’s collection. It’s a truly stunning example of one person’s twenty year passion and desire to seek out the finest, rarest bottles of whisky in the world."

He adds: "Mr Viet is, what we believe to be, one of possibly three collectors in the world to own all three variants of the legendary Macallan 1926 bottling (the Fine & Rare label, the Peter Blake label and the Valerio Adami label), which recently broke the world record. That said, it may well be the case that Mr Viet is the only collector in the world to have three bottles.”