Sotheby’s Hong Kong auction last month, the Yamazaki Single Malt Whisky Aged 50 Years fetched a whopping HK$2,337,000 (S$396,408). The buyer is an Asian individual.
The sale broke the world record for most expensive Japanese whisky ever sold at auction. The limited edition expression, one of only 150 bottles, originally went on sale in December 2011. Back then, it cost a ‘mere’ ¥1.05 million (S$12,822 at today’s rates).
Made of top-grade single malts aged for a minimum of 50 years in Japanese oak casks, the bottle boasts a signature from Yamazaki’s chief blender.
Paul Wong, Sotheby’s Wine (Asia) Specialist describes the sale as “Illustrating a whisky market in full swing".
It appears so. Another Yamazaki 50-year-old single malt set the previous record in 2016, also in Hong Kong. Part of Poly Auction’s Prestige Collection, that bottle fetched more than HK$1 million ($169,494).
And in 2015, a Karuizawa 1960 fetched HK$918,750 (S$155,812) at a Bonhams sale in Hong Kong.
However, the most expensive single malt whisky ever sold at auction still belongs to a Scotch. The Macallan “M" went under the hammer for US$628,205 (S$833,103) at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in 2014.
Granted, it did come in a large (71cm tall) crystal decanter that could hold six litres.
It just goes to show that Asia’s thirst for whisky – increasingly, of the Japanese variety – is a long way from being quenched.