A bottle of Yamazaki-55 Year, the oldest Japanese whisky in history, was sold by Bonhams for HK$6,200,000 (US$795,000), ten times higher than its pre-sale estimate, setting a new world auction record for a bottle of Japanese whisky.
The single-malt blockbuster was freshly released in June this year by Suntory, via a customer lottery system applicable only to residents from within Japan. Yamazaki-55 Years was distilled in the 1960s and produced in an exceedingly-limited edition of 100 bottles.
It had a pre-sale estimate of HK$580,000 – 780,000, but the final hammer price far exceeded expectation, signaling the blistering demand for rare Japanese drams.
Daniel Lam, Director of Wine and Whisky, Asia, commented: “The stunning price sets a new milestone for the market of Japanese whisky, testament to collectors’ desire and determination to acquire the very best the market has to offer. We are pleased to see a keen demand for Scotch whisky in today’s sale as well.”
This new record smashed the previous world record holder of Karuizawa 52 Year Old sold by Sotheby’s in London in March this year for GBP363,000 (US$475,000).
The Yamazaki-55 Year Old was matured in both Japanese Mizunara oak cask from 1960 and white oak cask from 1964, the year of the previous Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.
Distilled to 46% ABV, it has a deep reddish amber color with a complex agarwood and sandalwood nose, rich in fruity scents with a sweet aftertaste. The gold-dusted bottle is housed in a black Mizunara oak box with Suruga lacquer. The bottle mouth is wrapped in handmade Echizen Washi and tied with a traditional Kyoto braided cord.
Bonhams currently holds three world auction records in the whisky category, namely the most expensive Japanese whisky collection of Hanyu card series, and a world record for the world’s most valuable whisky cask and now the most expensive bottle of Japanese whisky.