Whisky Magazine Issue 116
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The rise of Japanese whiskies is beginning to tempt collectors
Japanese whiskies have surged in popularity at auction over the past 12 months. Volumes of new releases reaching Europe are relatively small and the range in the USA smaller still. This has engineered tough competition for buyers pushing prices up, though it's a good time to sell if you've been collecting limited editions along the way. Competing with distillery bottlings from Suntory and Nikka are independent bottlings from Hanyu, Karuizawa and Chichibu and a few rare Japanese grain whiskies. The distinctive spectrum of flavours in Japanese whisky have proved irresistible whether it's the pull of dark, sherry-matured single malts or the acquired profile of flavours produced from maturation in mizunara wood. The presentation of Japanese whiskies are notably distinctive with gorgeous paper labels featuring Japanese script, tumbling playing cards, terrifying Noh masks, and ukiyo-e inspired images of smiling geisha girls hiding behind paper fans under cherry blossoms.
Hanyu 1988 – 2006 Cask 9204 56.3%
Bottler: Full Proof, Holland
WM tasting scores: N/A
Recent auction price: €430
Date: February 2013
Comment: Full Proof are notorious for their cheeky labels. This limited edition Hanyu features the girl tossing a caber although they released a Karuizawa Full Proof Cask 2221 using a similar image where she is flinging a small cask into the distance. Are collectors just paying for the interesting labels, I wonder?