A 55YO YAMAZAKI JUST BROKE PRICE RECORD, LUCKY OWNER MADE 2,800% RETURN IN 2 MONTHS
By Siulan Law Mathews DipWSET
A bottle of 55 YO Yamazaki made history in a Hong Kong auction last Friday achieving a hammer price of HKD6.2million (USD795,000), which is more than ten times its lower estimate, making it the most expensive bottle of Japanese whisky ever sold.
The 55 YO Yamazaki is believed to be the oldest Japanese whisky available in the market. The bottle is one of the 100 released in June this year by Suntory, owner of the Yamazaki Distillery, via a customer lottery system applicable only to residents from within Japan.
The release price was Yen3m (USD28,300) per piece, that means the lucky owner of the auctioned bottle has achieved a staggering 2,800% return in less than two months.
Each of the 100 bottles is personalised, with the buyer’s name printed on the label. It is partly to add an extra special touch, and partly to discourage reselling, which has proven to be difficult to enforce.
The auction house, Bonhams, gave the bottle a pre-sale estimate of HKD580,000 to 780,000 (USD74,400 to 100,100).
This last record of most expensive Japanese whisky was held by a bottle of 52 YO Karuizawa Cask #5627 Zodiac Rat 1960 easily, which was sold at a hammer price of £363,000 (US$475,000) at a Sotheby’s auction in London in March this year.
Daniel Lam, Asia Director of Wine and Whisky, said: "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."
According to Bonhams, the 55 YO Yamazaki was distilled in 1960 and was matured in a Japanese Mizunara oak cask after distillation and then a white oak cask from 1964.
Bottled at 46% ABV, it is described as having a deep reddish amber colour 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.
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