New record set for Japanese whisky

A bottle of Yamazaki 50 year-old single malt whisky has set a new record for Japanese whisky sold at auction, making £209,740 at a sale in Hong Kong.

The bottle realised HK$2.3 million (US$298,879) – twice its high estimate – during Sotheby’s first fine and rare sale in Hong Kong of 2018 on 27 January.

In total the sale achieved HK$47.9m (US$6.1m) and was largely dominated by Burgundy with a sprinkling of rare malt whiskies.

The Yamazaki was the single most expensive lot sold at the sale, other whiskies that made the top 10 lots were a decanter of The Macallan’s 50 year-old 1949 (HK$492,000/US$62,922) and another 50 year-old Japanese whisky, the 1965 Karuizawa.

Otherwise, it was all Burgundy. Ten bottles of 1976 Richebourg from Henri Jayer making HK$1.4m (US$188,766) was the top-selling wine lot and the rest were various lots of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti spanning 1996 to 2010.

Paul Wong, specialist, Sotheby’s Wine, Asia, said: “We are absolutely thrilled with the new world auction record set by the Yamazaki Aged 50 Years, the highest price achieved for any single bottle of Japanese Whisky, illustrating a whisky market in full swing.”

Adam Bilbey, head of Sotheby’s Wine Asia, added: “With the hammer dropping above the high estimate, this was an incredible way to kick off our 2018 sales in Hong Kong. Once again we saw active bidding from across Asia, underpinned by discerning buyers here in Hong Kong.

“The finest wines from Burgundy continued to hit new highs in addition to strong interest in the great wines of Bordeaux. We have no time to draw breath, with upcoming sales in New York, London and then our Spring Sales here in Hong Kong at the Convention and Exhibition Centre that promises some of the most exciting sales we have ever offered in Asia. Watch this space….”

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