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New world auction record for a bottle of Japanese whisky set at Bonhams
The oldest Japanese whisky – Yamazaki-55 Year sells for HK$6,200,000 (US$795,000). Photo: Bonhams.

HONG KONG.- At Bonhams Fine & Rare Wine and Whisky Sale in Hong Kong today, Yamazaki-55 Year, the oldest Japanese whisky in history, commanded the price of HK$6,200,000 (US$795,000), establishing a new world auction record for a bottle of Japanese whisky. It had a pre-sale estimate of HK$580,000 – 780,000.

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.

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 far exceeds the previous records, set respectively in March 2020 for GBP363,000 (US$475,000) and in May 2019 for NT$13,512,500 (US$459,000).

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 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.

Bonhams currently holds three world auction records in the whisky category, namely:

• World auction record for a Japanese whisky collection
Hanyu Ichiro’s Full Card Series (in 54 bottles)
Sold for of HK$7,192,000 (US$ 922,000)
August 2019

• World auction record for a whisky cask
Refill European Sherry Hogshead Cask from Macallan Distillery
Sold for HK$4,464,000 (US$572,000)
November 2019

• World auction record for a bottle of Japanese whisky
Yamazaki-55 Year
Sold for HK$6,200,000 (US$795,000)
August 2020

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