Rare Japanese Whisky Becomes Most Expensive Bottle Ever Sold in the Country

written by Leroy Buliro 27th August 2018

A rare bottle of 50YO Yamazaki whisky has sold for Ksh34,556,907 at Bonhams in Hong Kong on Friday 17th August, breaking the record for the most expensive bottle of Japanese whisky ever sold.

Another whisky sale has again made headlines, this time round it’s the Yamazaki, a 50 year old Japanese whisky that was auctioned for a record breaking Ksh34,556,907; the most expensive Japanese bottle ever sold in the country.

Established in 1923, Yamakazi is the oldest Japanese whisky distillers and it is reported that it has released its 50-year old expression on three occasions, in 2005, 2007 and 2011. The auction happened in Bonhams, Hong Kong where the record-breaking bid was placed by an Asian caller – According to the Nikkei Asian Review – who wishes to remain anonymous

“The Yamazaki 50-year-old is a very rare and special whisky, and I am expecting a lot of interest from collectors,” Daniel Lam, Bonhams’ head of fine wine and whisky in Hong Kong, said in a statement.

Released in 2005, the Yamazaki 50 Year Old 1st Edition is one of just 50 made. It was matured in casks made from mizunara (Japanese Oak) that comes from Japan’s oldest whisky distillery, Yamazaki, based in the Osaka Prefecture. This expression is thought to be the oldest Yamazaki on the market. This sale marks the third record set by Japanese whisky this year. Previous records were reached by the Karuizawa 160 52-year-old “The Dragon” and Yamazaki 50-year-old that both sold for Ksh31,446,785 and Ksh30,123,951 respectively.

What’s more surprising is the skyrocketing price of the Yamazaki 50-year-old from a retail price of Ksh906,741 in just 13 years. Bottles of the Macallan Genesis which were released only last week are already being auctioned for at least four times their original price, according to The Drinks Business, which begs the questions… Why are rare whisky auctions breaking records?

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