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Bonhams to sell Yamazaki 50YO First Release

Auction house Bonhams is preparing to sell a selection of rare Japanese whiskies, including a bottle of Yamazaki 50-Year-Old First Release.

Yamazaki 50 Years Old whisky Bonhams
Bonhams will auction a selection of rare whiskies on 20 May

Yamazaki 50-Year-Old First Release was launched in 2005, and at the time it was the oldest botting from the distillery. Only 50 bottles were released.

Since then, the expression has set two auction records, one in 2018 and one in 2019. Only 12 bottles are thought to still be intact.

One bottle will go under the hammer at the Bonhams Fine and Rare Wine and Whisky Sale in Hong Kong on 20 May. It is expected to sell for between HK$3.5 million and HK$4.5m (US$446,338-US$573,884).

Shinjiro Torii founded the Yamazaki distillery in 1923, which became Japan’s first commercial whisky distillery.

There are three editions of 50-year-old Yamazaki, bottled in 2005, 2007 and 2011.

Christopher Pong, head of sales at Bonhams wine and whisky department, said: “The first edition of Yamazaki 50-Year-Old is always eagerly sought after by collectors. I am expecting a lot of interest.”

Yamazaki’s oldest whisky to date, a 55-year-old bottling, will also be auctioned in May. It is expected to fetch between UK$4m-HK$5m (US$510,115-US$637,644).

Scotch whisky collection

Furthermore, one of Asia’s leading whisky collectors, Aaron Chan, owner of Club Qing, will auction his personal Scotch whisky collection over more than 220 lots.

Bottles will include Bowmore 1995 in Ceramic Jug, Tormore Samaroli-1966, and Laphroaig Osteria Apostoli-1970 #4367.

Pong added: “Bonhams’ long-standing rapport with Aaron Chan is founded on our shared vision to develop whisky collecting in Asia.

“After a momentous sale of Club Qing’s Hanyu Full Card Series in 2020, which set a new auction record for a collection of Japanese whisky, Aaron has now consigned with us his personal Scotch collection, offering many old bottlings from the 1950s through the 60s, all in pristine condition.

“It is rare to have a private Asian Scotch collection come to the global market and this is surely one to watch out for.”

The world’s largest private whisky collection to be offered on the secondary market reached a total of £3.36m (US$4.5m) after 23 auctions were held over two years.

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