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Yamazaki 50yo whisky sets auction world record

A first edition Yamazaki 50-year-old single malt has smashed the world record price for a standard-sized bottle of whisky sold at auction, fetching more than HK$1 million (US$129,000).

A bottle of Yamazaki 50yo has set a new world record for whisky sold at auction
A bottle of Yamazaki 50yo has set a new world record for whisky sold at auction

The expression went under the hammer on 2 October at Grand Hyatt Hong Kong as part of Poly Auction’s Prestige Collection.

Initially released by Suntory in 2005, Yamazaki Single Malt 50 Year Old Whisky was matured in mizunara casks and was initially marketed at ¥1m (about US$9,600 at today’s exchange rates).

Nosing and tasting notes given by Suntory at the time of release for the “richly sweet and mature” expression include hints of sweet-sour dried fruits, a full-bodied, silky mouthfeel, and a lingering, slightly smoky aftertaste with mild woodiness.

Estimates for the 700ml lot ranged from HK$650,000-850,000 (US$83,700-109,500), with the final sale price of HK$1.003m (US$129,186) far exceeding expectations.

Japanese whisky has form for shattering world records at auction. In September 2015, a full 54-bottle range of Hanyu Playing Cards was sold for HK$3,797,500 (about US$489,400 at today’s rates), setting a record for the most expensive range of Japanese whisky.

The previous world record for the most expensive single bottle of Japanese whisky sold at auction was set on the same day when a Karuizawa 1960 fetched HK$918,750 (about US$918,750 at today’s rates).

In February 2015 The Macallan M set the world record for the most expensive whisky sold at auction when a six-litre crystal decanter sold for US$628,000 in January 2014 at Sotherby’s in Hong Kong. The net proceeds from the sale were donated to local charities.

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