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Issue 131 - Kracking Karuizawa

Whisky Magazine Issue 131
October 2015


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Kracking Karuizawa

A new World Record

A bottle of Karuizawa has taken the record for the highest price ever paid at auction for a standard sized bottle of whisky.

A hammer price of HK$750,000 (£63,011) was the winning bid for the Karuizawa 1960 52 Years Old at Bonhams, Hong Kong on August 28 2015. Originally, the Karuizawa 1960 cost £12,500 when the 41 bottles were released in 2013.

Although The Macallan is recognised as holding the World Record for the most expensive bottle of whisky ever sold, this was for a much larger six litre decanter. A standard sized bottle of The Macallan has yet to come close to this value at auction. Karuizawa and The Macallan are locked in a titanic battle for the top of the Whisky Magazine Index, with the closed Japanese distillery closing the gap significantly in the run down to the end of the year.

The Bonhams, Hong Kong sale consisted of 386 lots (90 per cent sold by lot) and raised a total hammer price of HK$13 million / £1.1 million of which nearly £527,000 was spent on Karuizawa alone. The record breaking Karuizawa 1960 took the crown from the Bowmore 1964 48 Years Old which sold for £61,000 in October 2013 at the Distiller's Charity Auction in London, organised by the Worshipful Company of Distillers.

Auction Watch

The epic scale of the Bonhams, Hong Kong sale was of such magnitude that it dwarfed every other live auction held in August. More than 80 per cent of the spending was on Japanese whisky, but it wasn't all spent on Karuizawa. From Yamazaki, there was a b...

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