Bonhams Hong Kong Whisky and Wine has achieved a yearly total of HK$124 million (US$16 million), hitting the HK$100 million (US$13 million) milestone this year after its record year in 2018, the auction house has announced.
The record breaking sales echoed the latest Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index, which revealed the value of fine wine investment has outperformed luxury Hermès handbags and Rolex watches during the pandemic. Rare whiskey has also topped the chart for 10-year investment index with a 483% increase in value over years.
Prices of rare whiskies have been surging in recent five or six years, of which top Japanese whiskies became the hottest collection items in Asia due to its limited supply and prestigious craftsmanship. Bonham’s rocketing sales record this year proves the demand for whisky and fine wine investment remains bullish during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Demand for Japanese whiskies is bullish from collectors in Asia and beyond. More than 90% of Japanese Whisky on offer were sold. The top lot of November 19 was a bottle of Karuizawa-1964-51 year old-#1917, which was sold for HK$1,178,000 (US$151,085).
The remaining 94% of Karuizawa Whisky with more than 100 lots was also sold and achieved a total of HK$16.2 million (US$20.8 million). It is the highest amount realised for a Group of Karuizawa at auction.
This year, Bonhams also set another new auction record for the Karuizawa ‘Samurai’ series in May’s Fine and Rare Wine & Whisky sale. The series was sold for HK$818,400 (US$104,964), which was higher than its estimate of HK$500,000 to 700,000 (US$64,128 to US$89,779).
For Scotch Whiskey, The Macallan led the auction results. A Macallan Lalique-57 Year Old was sold for HK$930,000 (US$119,277) on November 19, exceeding its high estimate.
Previously in January’s Hong Kong Whisky Sale, a classic Macallan Lalique-50 year old was sold for HK$1,054,000 (US$135,181), which was against the estimate of HK$750,000 to 900,000 (US$96,191 to 115,429).
Another Macallan record this year was made in August’s Fine and Rare Whisky sale. A Macallan-1991 cask yielding 202 bottles was sold for HK$4,464,000 (US$572,532), which set the highest per-bottle price record of HK$$22,099 (US$2,834) for any whisky cask at auction.
Despite Bonhams’ record breaking sales, the auction house earlier faced allegations of fake wines. It withdrew the entire A-1 Fine Wines Sale of 607 lots from November 21’s auction due to numerous allegations of fake wines.
Speaking of Bonham’s performance, Daniel Lam, Bonhams Director of Wine and Spirits, Asia, said, “The market is clearly resilient, with robust demand for whiskies across all price points, and for Japanese and Scotch whisky alike. The market is clearly resilient, with robust demand for whiskies across all price points, and for Japanese and Scotch whisky alike. We are pleased to continue our worldwide market leadership in whisky and look forward to an exciting year in 2022.”