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Yamazaki 50-year-old sets new auction record

A new world record has been set for the most expensive single bottle of Japanese whisky sold at auction after a 50-year-old Yamazaki fetched HK$2,695,000 (US$343,318) in Hong Kong.

This bottle of 50-year-old Yamazaki has set a new world record

The rare edition was sold in the Bonhams Whisky Sale on Friday 17 August, smashing its pre-sale estimate of HK$1,800,000-HK$2,400,000 (US$229,310-US$305,749).

According to Bonhams, it overtakes the previous world record of HK$2,450,000 (US$312,105) set by the action house in Hong Kong earlier this year.

Suntory’s Yamazaki distillery, based in the Osaka Prefecture, produced only 50 bottles of the coveted 50-year-old whisky, which was bottled and released in 2005. Matured in mizunara oak casks, the expression is thought to be the oldest Yamazaki on the market.

“The Yamazaki 50-year-old is an exceptional whisky and, of course, very rare indeed,” said Daniel Lam, Bonhams head of fine wine and whisky.

“This new world record for a bottle of Japanese whisky – just a few months after we set the previous one – and the world record we set for Scotch whisky in May demonstrate that the auction market for single malt whisky is in good health.”

In May, a Macallan Valerio Adami 1926 60-year-old sold for HK$8,636,250 (US$1,100,197), a world record for Scotch whisky. At the same time, a bottle of Macallan Peter Blake 1926 60-year-old fetched HK$7,962,500 (US$1,014,422).

Bonhams expects the record to be broken once again when another bottle of 60-year-old Macallan Valerio Adami 1926 goes under the hammer in Edinburgh this autumn.

The auction house’s recent Hong Kong sale reached HK$26,000,000 (US$3,312,295) in total. Other top lots included a 35-year-old Yamazaki, 1965 Karuizawa and a Rolling Stones 50th anniversary special edition Yamazaki.

In the UK, auction sales of rare whisky hit £16 million (US$20.3m) in the first half of this year as demand for collectible and investible bottles continues to soar.

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