Japanese Whiskey Breaks World Auction Records

The value of Japanese whiskey continues to shatter records.

A Yamazaki Single Malt Whisky Aged 50 NV (non-vintage) sold for HKD2.3 million (US$299,099) at a Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong late last month, soaring past the HKD1.3 million (US$166,000) price realized for a 52-year bottle of Karuizawa 1960 at a Poly Auction sale in Hong Kong last April.

Japanese provenance and its 50-year age—exceptionally rare among whiskies—pushed the price of this single bottle of whiskey far beyond its pre-sale estimate of HKD1.1 million. The bottle sold on Jan. 29 to a private Asian collector, Sotheby’s says.

One reason for the big price tag? “Very few whiskies make it to 50 years of age,” says Jeffery Lindenmuth, executive editor of Whisky Advocate. (Whiskey is spelled with an “e” in the U.S. and Ireland, but not in the rest of the world).

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