Sotheby’s Sells the Most Valuable Bottle of Japanese Whisky ~ Sales Results – Japanese Whisky News

Sotheby’s Sells the Most Valuable Bottle of Japanese Whisky 

A Bottle of Karuizawa 52 Year Old Cask #5627 Zodiac Rat 1960

Achieves £363,000 / $435,273

“Against a backdrop of extraordinary circumstance, the persistence and commitment of collectors came through in yesterday’s sales, where a bottle of Japanese whisky became the most valuable ever sold, accompanied by strong prices for Scotch whisky, led by the Macallan in Lalique Decanters. Collectors also continue to compete for the world’s greatest wines, and when there is an opportunity to acquire the very best the market has to offer, as with the two cases of the legendary Cheval Blanc 1947, they are willing to stretch to the highest level.”

Jamie Ritchie, Worldwide Head of Sotheby’s Wine 

LONDON, 19 March 2020 – Yesterday’s sales of Finest & Rarest Wines and Spirits at Sotheby’s in London brought a combined total of £3.7 million / $4.4 million (est. £2.8 – 3.8 million / $3.3 – 4.5 million). A substantial proportion of lots achieved prices above their high estimates, and in a category where online bidding is traditionally strong, over 50% of the buyers placed their winning bids online.


  • A new auction record was achieved for a bottle of Japanese whisky, with a bottle of ‘Karuizawa 52 Year Old Zodiac Rat Cask #5627 1960’, sold for £363,000 / $435,273 to an Asian private collector, and far exceeding its pre-sale estimate of £160,000-220,000. The oldest Karuizawa to have been released, this iconic bottle is one of only 41 that were produced, each uniquely identified by an individual netsuke carved from the oak cask head of cask #5627.


  • Finest & Rarest Spirits totalled £1,401,122 / $1,680,085 (est. £1 – 1.45 million / $1.2 – 1.7 million)
    • 45% of lots sold achieved prices above the high estimate


  • The auctions were led, respectively, by two landmarks in the world of whisky, and one of the most legendary Bordeaux:
    • The Macallan in Lalique Six Pillars Collection, rarely seen in an unbroken vertical, sold for £423,500 / $507,819 (est. £320,000-480,000)
    • A decanter containing the oldest whisky ever to be released from The Macallan Distillery – The Macallan Lalique Genesis Decanter 72 Year Old – brought £84,700 / $101,564 (est. £70,000-100,000)
    • A bottle of Karuizawa 52 Year Old Zodiac Rat Cask #5627 1960 became the most valuable bottle of Japanese whisky ever sold, achieving £363,000 / $435,273


  • Participants hailed from 21 countries, from across Asia, Europe and North America

An important update from Scotch Whisky Auctions

We’ve taken the difficult decision to close our offices and postpone our auctions with immediate effect. We’ve been closely monitoring the unfolding Covid-19 situation and we don’t feel it’s right or appropriate to continue  with the auction at this time. Taking orders that may not be delivered or cannot be collected would be ethically wrong.

As a business we have always put people before profits and the health and safety of our team, customers and suppliers must be a priority. We would not feel right continuing with the auction where there was the possibility we would be unable to fulfil orders, letting down both sellers and buyers.

We will continue to monitor the situation closely and operations will resume as soon as it is safe to do so. We will be back.

Please be assured if you have bottles here with us in our warehouse they are safe and insured in our dedicated facility.

Wishing everyone the very best in these challenging times.

Scotch Whisky Auctions



Results of The Wealth Report’s new unique luxury investment index reveals whisky was one of the most coveted objects of desire in 2019.

The report out this month, produced by Knight Frank, says Rare Whisky has grown in value the most over the last 10 years at +564% and increased by +5% in the past 12 months; and states casks remained in huge demand. By comparison cars have seen an increase of 194%, art by 141% and wine by 120%.

Simon Aron, Owner of Cask Trade, that offers a transparent, trustworthy and honest marketplace for the trading of whisky by the cask, says: “Whisky will always be drunk in times of celebration and in times of crisis. Cask whisky is the best long term alternative investment with no free fall.”

Objects of desire

In the last 10 years, whisky has far outstripped the more established alternative assets such as art, cars, wines, watches and jewellery and is now one of the most coveted objects of desire. According to the report, whisky was one of 2019’s top performing luxury investments.

Be investment savvy

Whilst Cask Trade recognise the famous whisky names of Macallan, Bowmore and Dalmore have done well in bottle at auction, they say these aged whisky casks are very rare, and getting rarer, are very expensive and becoming a weaker in investment value as they get older and the alcohol levels reduce.

Cask Trade believe the real investment opportunity is with distilleries who have been quietly producing fantastic whisky for years that has either been independently bottled or was used for global blends of whisky. Examples of those looking to carve out their place in the market and fulfil a much larger demand from around the world include: Miltonduff, Caol Ila, Craigllachie, Glenallachie, Glenrothes, Glen Moray, Fettercairn and Glen Garioch.

Aron adds: “Casks from these distilleries have all got a fantastic price point and make very good whisky but don’t have the capacity, global reach the marketing power yet. But the demand is there and people want to know more.”


As the new Wealth Report explains, as luxury collectables continue their rise up the investment agenda, a growing number of fledgling UHNWI collectors are making their first forays into the world of auction sales.

In January, Cask Trade hosted the world’s first live, online whisky auction dedicated to casks.

More than 300 whisky lover from around the world registered on and over 100 samples were sent to prospective buyers around the world including America, Asia, Australia and Europe. Among the casks sold during the auction was a 1995 Springbank sherry hogshead which was bought for £47,200 and the Glen Ord barrel April 2015 went for £3,186. The second aution will take place on 22nd April 2020.

The Wealth Report says: “Money flows fastest in those areas with the highest “supply” and turnover: contemporary art, jewellery, cars, wine, whisky and watches. These specialist auction markets are concentrated in London, New York and Hong Kong, creating a dynamic market with associated price fluctuations that percolate at different levels depending on where they are offered. Such collections should be valued regularly for insurance and tax planning purposes.”

World record 

A new world record for a bottle of whisky was set in October, when Sotheby’s sold this bottle of The Macallan Fine & Rare 60-Year-Old 1926 for £1.5 million in London.



Full details of The Wealth Report 2020 can be found here:


Founded in 2018 by Simon Aron in partnership with several of the world’s foremost whisky masters, including Keeper of the Quaich Sir Colin Hampden-White, Cask Trade buys and sells exceptional cask whiskies. The company is unique because it only sells casks it owns outright, and it only sells whole casks: it is not a whisky cask broker and it does not offer fractional sales.

A passionate whisky collector for more than 20 years, Simon Aron suffered many false promises from whisky investment companies and this drove his ambition to create a real and trustworthy market place for whisky collectors and investors, and bottlers:

The company’s casks are held in the best HMRC bonded warehouses, regularly visited and approved by Cask Trade whisky masters. All stock holdings have a complete paper trail…

  • Delivery orders from supplier to Cask Trade
  • Invoices for transfer of ownership, storage insurance, re-gauging, sampling or movement
  • HMRC-issued WOWGR (warehouse keepers, warehouse premises, owner of goods and registered consigners): a fully regulated and closely monitored license requiring due diligence on suppliers as well as customers.

Included in its extensive list of customer services, Cask Trade’s rigorous processes means that the company will guarantee to buy back from its clients the casks they buy from and have had managed by Cask Trade. It also offers…

  • Regular sampling and re-gauging of casks
  • Re-racking (sherry wine, port etc)
  • Estimates of bottles and strength in cask (effects of angels’ share 0ver years of maturations)
  • Financial modelling for each cask based on age and rarity with estimated % returns
  • Costings for bottling, labelling and shipping (duty & tax)
  • Regularly updated whisky investment guide which includes statistics from two authoritative third parties (independent of Cask Trade)
  • Cask Trade will arrange for clients to receive samples of their whiskies and visit their barrels(s), upon request – wherever possible.

Cask Trade has started the first live auction website dedicated to exceptional whisky casks:

Hosted four times a year and helping private owners/investors sell their cask to independent bottlers and other investors all around the world. All casks will be re-gauged ready for auction and a full 70cl sample will be drawn so that bidders have the opportunity to try the whisky before they buy. – Wherever possible. We validate all the sellers and confirm proof of ownership and the history of the cask enabling bidders to safely buy. With complete transparency and no sellers’ fee we can offer you the actual hammer price. Our low buyers’ fee of 15% + VAT will offer the opportunity to buyers, trade or private, to buy rare casks. The next auction will take place on 22nd April 2020.

Trending at The Whisky Shop Auctions Daftmill 2007 12 Year Old Winter 2019 Release – Scotch Whisky News

Trending at The Whisky Shop Auctions
Daftmill 2007 12 Year Old Winter 2019 Release – UK Exclusive

Distilled at Fife’s Daftmill distillery in 2007, it is a farm distillery owned and operated by the Cuthbert family, it is a distillery which produces whisky seasonally during the farm’s quiet periods. Created by using a combination of seven first fill bourbon casks and it has then been matured for over a decade before being limited to only 1,785 bottles produced.

An important update from Scotch Whisky Auctions


Whisky Hammer March 2020 Auction Now Live – Auction Whisky News

Our March auction is now LIVE!

Place your bids from Friday 13th March until Sunday 22nd March at

Every month, we present an incredible selection of whiskies and other fine spirits to our members right across the globe. You will find everything here from limited edition releases and vintage bottles to whole casks of rare whisky. There is certainly something for everyone – whether you are looking to collect, invest or enjoy!

Fettercairn Cask – Distilled in 1989. 

Karuizawa – 35 Year Old (1981) Single Cask 

Port Ellen – 40 Year Old (1979)

Glenfarclas – 40 Year Old

Selling whisky? Why not arrange the pick-up of your bottles using our global courier service? If you’re based in Scotland, you might want to arrange the personal collection of your bottles. Wherever you’re based in the world, we will make getting your bottles into our monthly auction as simple as possible. Get in touch with the Whisky Hammer team now by dropping them a message at



· The Rise of Budding Whisky Collectors:

Nearly 40% Of Bidders New To Bonhams

· More Young Collectors Coming in:

Over 30% Of Bidders Under 40 Years Old, With Bidders From Their 20s

· Japanese Whisky Continues To Thrive At All Price Points: 85% Sold

· Sale total: HK$6.04 Million

Commenting on the result, Daniel Lam, Bonhams’ Director of Wine & Spirits, Asia, said: ‘Curated to aim at today’s budding whisky collectors, the online-only sale saw robust interest from this rising community from across Asia and beyond. Nearly 40% of the bidders are new clients and over 30% are young collectors under 40 years old, showing Bonhams’ unrivalled understanding of this fast-growing market.’

Notable highlights:

Japanese Whisky

· Karuizawa-1968-50 year old-#6223-黑命の水 sold for HK$471,200

· Karuizawa-Yashiro-1971-37 year old-八代窯 sold for HK$347,200, over four times the pre-sale estimate (HK$80,000–100,000).

Scotch Whisky

· Macallan Lalique Genesis-72 year old Decanter sold for HK$ 930,000

· Black Bowmore-1964 sold for HK$186,000

Please click here to find out further details of the auction result.

Whisky Online Auction15 February until 6pm (HKT) 22 February 2020Specialist: Daniel Lam, Bonhams’ Director of Wine & Spirits, Asia

Follow Bonhams on
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Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world’s largest and most renowned auctioneers, offering fine art and antiques, motor cars and jewellery. The main salerooms are in London, New York, Los Angeles and Hong Kong, with auctions also held in Knightsbridge, Edinburgh, Paris, San Francisco and Sydney. With a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 22 countries, Bonhams offers advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full list of forthcoming auctions, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments, please visit 

Scotch Whisky Auctions “We’re coming to London!” – Scotch Whisky News







*Featuring the oldest Macallan and Karuizawa ever bottled*

 Finest & Rarest Spirits

Highlighted by:

Karuizawa 52 Year Old Cask #5627 Zodiac Rat 1960

*Coinciding with the Year of the Rat in the Chinese Zodiac Calendar*

Four Private Collection Decanters Numbered “1” Directly from Gordon & MacPhail

Complete Collection of The Macallan Six Pillars and the Macallan 72 Year Old 

Finest & Rarest Spirits

87 Lots with a Pre-Sale Estimate of £842,420 – 1.6 Million

Sotheby’s Finest & Rarest Spirits features the oldest Macallan and Karuizawa ever bottled alongside landmarks of luxury in the world of whisky.

Jonny Fowle, Sotheby’s Spirits Specialist, commented: “We are delighted to present such a strong selection of bottles consigned directly from producers as well as from private collections to begin our 2020 sales in London. Among the most exciting bottles in this sale are the Gordon & MacPhail Private Decanters, all of which are numbered 1 of their respective outturn. This is the first time that any number 1 decanter from G&M has been offered for sale rather than kept within the Urquhart Family archives. Offering these alongside such iconic bottles as Karuizawa 52 Year old from Cask #5627 and so many Macallan in Lalique decanters showcases the strength of current demand for the very best in the world of whisky.”

Finest & Rarest Spirits features the highly sought after Karuizawa 52 Year Old Cask #5627 Zodiac Rat 1960, the most coveted bottle from this closed Japanese distillery that is fortuitously offered this year, the Year of the Rat. In 2018, a bottle of this Japanese single malt broke the record for the most expensive bottle of Japanese whisky ever sold at auction, superseded several months later by a rare bottle of Yamazaki 50 Year Old 1st Edition.

Among the most notable bottlings in this auction is an impeccable array of old Gordon & MacPhail releases from previous decades with vintages stretching back to the 1930s, which culminate in a collection of four highly aged and very limited Crystal Decanters from the G&M Private Collection. These decanters have been consigned to Sotheby’s directly from the Urquhart family and each is number 1 out its respective outturn. This is the first time that any decanter numbered “#1” has been released for sale from Gordon & MacPhail rather than being kept in the Urquhart family’s own collection.

A truly impeccable lineup of aged Macallan Whiskies ranges from an independently bottled 48 Year Old through an unbroken vertical of The Macallan in Lalique Six Pillars Collection – six crystal decanters ranging from 50 to 65 years old, rarely seen in an unbroken vertical – to the inimitable 72 Year Old Genesis Decanter, the oldest whisky to be released from this exemplary distillery.





A Private Collection of Whisky, 50 years in the making, comes to auction on 20th March 2020 at Tennants Auctioneers in North Yorkshire. With a focus on Macallan, the collection includes such highlights as a bottle of The Macallan 52-Year-Old Select Reserve 1946 (Estimate: £20,000-30,000).

Comprising over 300 bottles, the collection was amassed by a businessman who was first introduced to whisky when his father-in-law gave him a bottle of The Macallan 10-Year-Old. It proved revelatory, sparking a life-long interest in whisky and a deep love of Macallan. Indeed, The Macallan 10-Year-Old has been his drink of choice ever since.

Tennants’ Wine and Whisky Specialist William McNab says of the collection: “It is a pleasure to handle such a fine collection of whisky put together with much dedication by a true connoisseur. Not only are there examples some of the most desirable single bottles around, but there are year runs and top bottles from Scotland’s finest distilleries. The collection even includes an example of my favourite whisky, a rare and now discontinued Balvenie 10-Year-Old Founder’s Reserve, Cognac Bottling.”

The collection also offers good, collectable bottles of Glenfarclas and Glenmorangie as well as bottles from the top distilleries across Scotland; there is a particular focus on good bottles from the 1970s. In addition, the collection offers affordable bottles of single malt for drinking.

For further details, or to register your interest, contact William McNab on

The sale catalogue will be available online from Friday 6th March at and it will be on view to the public from Sunday 15th March.

NB: All estimates are subject to 20% buyer’s premium plus VAT. 

SALE:               The Whisky Sale: A Private Collection

Auction:           Friday 20th March

Viewing:          Sunday 15th March 11am-4pm

                        Monday 16th March 10am-5pm

                        Tuesday 17th March 10am-5pm

                        Wednesday 18th March 10am-5pm

                        Thursday 19th March 10am-5pm

                        Morning of sale from 8am

Venue:             Tennants Auctioneers, Harmby Road, Leyburn, North Yorkshire, DL8 5SG


Whisky Specialist:   William McNab 01969 623780


  • Tennants Auctioneers is a fourth-generation family business and is one of the UK’s largest international Antiques and Fine Art auctioneers. Situated in Leyburn, North Yorkshire, Tennants holds over 80 sales a year.
  • Tennants connects more than 200,000 buyers and sellers a year.
  • As a family business, Tennants stays true to its Yorkshire heritage and offers its clients unrivalled service, expertise and value.
  • In 2014 Tennants expanded the Auction Centre to 80,000sq ft with the development of The Garden Rooms – a dedicated venue for events, weddings, conferences and exhibitions. The venue is one of the region’s largest event spaces with a capacity of over 600 people.

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