The 50 year old, rarest of rare, Yamazaki Single Malt released by Suntory Spirits Ltd. has set a new world auction record at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, for the most expensive Japanese whisky ever sold at almost $300,000 on Jan 30 2018. Projected to be auctioned anywhere between $90,000 and $140,000, the final bid of approximately $298,739 set the whisky auction ablaze.
This sale has eclipsed the previous auction record for the most expensive bottle of Japanese whisky sold at approx. $129,000 for a 52 YR old bottle of Karuizawa 1960 at an auction sale in Hong Kong last year. Yamazaki, the first commercial whisky distillery started in 1923 in Japan. Marking the 50-year-old as not only an unusually old and rare Japanese whisky, but one representing a significant portion of Japan’s whisky history.
This reaffirms the rapidly rising market for luxury whisky, where highly premium bottles can rake in more than double of its pre-sale estimate. The sale truly crossed a new milestone in the New Year. This 50 year old whisky emerged from a small batch of around 150 bottles, launched in 2011 with beautiful, handcrafted wooden cases.
The Asian collector chooses to remain a mystery bidder amid much speculation, and has piqued the interest of hordes of whisky enthusiasts worldwide. A specialist at Sotheby’s Wine, Asia, Paul Wong said, “We are thrilled with the new world auction record set by the Yamazaki Aged 50 Years NV, the highest price achieved for any single bottle of Japanese whisky.” He further added, the sale of this release, bottled in 2011, ‘illustrates a thriving whisky market.’
The global demand for Japanese whisky, the growing appreciation, and its popularity has been surging over the years. The connoisseurs’ reverence for these whiskies from the Land Of The Rising Sun is resulting in new whisky producers testing the waters in the increasingly competitive landscape.
Some are highly sought-after and scarce in supply whereas a few are treasured by private collectors with a potential to fetch enormous premiums in whisky auctions. It is becoming a revered form of investment that presents the whisky collectors with a slice of history to cherish forever.
These rare single malt whisky editions though with their astronomical reach, are promising for breakthrough auctions for the connoisseurs, and putting Japanese whisky at the pinnacle of the global market.