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Issue 135 - Hong Kong Reigns Supreme

Whisky Magazine Issue 135
April 2016


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Hong Kong Reigns Supreme

A roundup of the year in the auction rooms

The supremacy of the Hong Kong based auction houses and the huge explosion in trading in Japanese whisky was the story of live whisky auctions in 2015. Whisky Magazine Issue 135 carries the 50th consecutive issue of the WMI column, and over the years, the prices paid for collectible whisky and the number of whisky lovers participating in whisky auctions has grown phenomenally. Live auctions accounted for £6.8 million in WMI eligible bottles in 2015, accounting for 8,500 bottles. Towards the latter part of 2014, the signs were becoming clearer that Karuizawa had developed an unstoppable momentum. The closed Japanese distillery brand championed by Number One Drinks rose quickly up the WMI to battle with The Macallan for the top spot. Using only live auction data, it took until the final months of the year to unseat The Macallan, though the online auctions in the UK were buzzing with Karuizawa sales all year.

One of the most telling figures was the category of bottles costing more than £2,000. The Macallan had dominated this category as far back as 2007 when WMI data collection began. Last year marked the first year The Macallan was outsold comprehensively, with 419 bottles of Karuizawa selling for more than £2,000 compared with 177 from The Macallan. Little wonder that the 2015 top five most expensive bottles sold at live auction were all from Karuizawa, including a new world record price for a standard sized bottle of whisky. The highest price paid for The Macallan in 20...

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