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Rare Yamazaki whisky sold for record €488,000 at Istanbul Airport

A highly rare Yamazaki 55-year-old whisky has been sold by Unifree Duty Free and joint venture partner Gebr. Heinemann in a product staging at Istanbul Airport for nearly half a million euros.

The rare whisky specialty was launched at Istanbul Airport in December 2021. Customers had to be invited to place a bid to have a chance to purchase the liquor, due to its highly limited release. A total of eight interested customers made a valid offer, and the bottle was ultimately purchased by an unnamed customer from China.

Ali Şenher, CEO of Unifree Duty Free, said of the sale: “We are thrilled that this record-breaking sale has taken place at our store. It provides further evidence that special products can help to achieve amazing results for airport retail and that Istanbul Airport is the perfect site to offer rarities like the Yamazaki 55 Year Old to a particularly discerning international clientele.”

The Yamazaki 55-year-old whisky is the oldest single malt whisky in the history of the House of Suntory. It is a blend of three exceptional single malts from the 1960s, featuring components distilled under the supervision of Suntory’s founder Shinjiro Torii.

After releasing 100 bottles in 2020 in Japan through a lottery system, Suntory has expanded on the release in 2021 by offering a limited batch of another 100 bottles to the rest of the world, with a number allocated to key travel retail partners, including Gebr. Heinemann.

Ruediger Stelkens, Director Purchasing Liquor, Tobacco and Confectionery at Gebr. Heinemann, said: “We always strive to offer our travelling shoppers superior experiences and premium products. Whisky enthusiasts know they can rely on Heinemann and our joint venture partners as a flagship destination for the discovery of rarities like the Yamazaki 55 Year Old.

“Our effort going forward will be to continue to focus on premium and exclusive products in all categories and locations.”

A 50-year-old Highland Park bottle is up for grabs at Hong Kong Bonhams sale. Read more on that here.

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