Pepsi magnate Richard Gooding traveled the world for more than two decades searching out rare bottles of whisky from distilleries such as Macallan, Bowmore, and Stromness. In the course of that time, he accumulated 3,900 bottles. That collection, dubbed the Perfect Collection, is valued at $15 million AUD and will be going on auction through the Whisky Auctioneer.
Born into the same family that started the Pepsi Cola Bottling Company of Denver in 1936, Gooding lived in Colorado, but traveled often to Ireland and Scotland. There he often purchased whiskies at auction or directly from the distilleries themselves. He would snatch up rare vintages, but would also buy one-of-a-kind whiskies to share with his friends. Gooding took the office of owner and chief executive of Pepsi Cola from 1979 to 1988. That last year, he sold the company and spent the rest of his life, until his passing in 2014, doing philanthropy work and collecting whisky.
Those years of collecting saw him pick up some of the world’s rarest whiskies. His collection includes a 60-year-old Macallan Valerio Adami 1926, which only saw 12 bottles being made, each adorned with a label created by pop artist Valerio Adami. “Macallan, as a distillery, is the most collectible,” says Jeffrey Lindenmuth, the editor of Whisky Advocate. “They consistently break records at auction.” Case in point, another bottle of 1926 pulled in $1.1 million last year. Gooding’s collection also includes a Macallan 1926 Fine & Rare that is valued at $1.9 million.
According to Gooding’s wife, Nancy, Gooding’s “mission was to collect a bottle that represented every single distillery. He loved every aspect of it, from researching the many single malt distilleries to visiting them and tasting their whiskies.” Gooding’s collection includes bottles from now defunct distilleries, such as Stromness Distillery and Dallas Dhu. And it wasn’t just Scottish or Irish whiskies that caught Gooding’s eye. He also collected whiskies from the United States and Japan.
The more expensive bottles in the collection will undoubtedly end up in another collection—so you can lose that mental image of a man in a smoking jacket sitting in front of a fire smoking a cigar and getting ready to taste one of these rare whiskies. “They will end up in the hands of another collector,” says Lindenmuth. “People buy them for speculation, bragging rights or they are trying to complete a collection.”