Exceptional Japanese Whiskies Lead Sotheby’s Sale of Extraordinary Spirits from Asia & Scotland – Japanese Whisky News

Karuizawa 52 Year Old Strong Eagle Cask #5627 1960, est. £240,000-450,000 &

Exceptional Selection of Japanese Whiskies,

Including the Oldest Whisky to be Released by the Karuizawa Distillery

Lead Sotheby’s Sale of Extraordinary Spirits from Asia & Scotland


LONDON, 2 June 2021 – Bidding opens today on Sotheby’s sale of Rare Whisky & Moutai | Extraordinary Spirits from Asia & Scotland, featuring some of the rarest whiskies ever to come to auction.

An exceptional selection of Japanese whiskies from Yamazaki, Hibiki, Hanyu and Saburomaru are led by a collection of 32 bottles of Karuizawa, all from a single collection known as The Unbeatable Collection of Karuizawa. Most notable is the Karuizawa Cask #5267 1960, formerly the world’s most valuable Japanese whisky when a bottle sold at Sotheby’s in March 2020 for £363,000 ($435,273). This is the first time a bottle from this cask has been seen at auction since that record was set (est. £240,000-450,000).

The Scotch Whisky in the sale is headlined by two outstanding bottles distilled at Bowmore Distillery on Islay. Both were distilled in the 1960s, a key era in the history of production at Bowmore, and one which is revered amongst whisky enthusiasts and collectors.

Bowmore Samaroli Bouquet 1966 is considered to be one of the greatest whiskies of all time. Distilled in 1966 at Bowmore and bottled around 18 years later in 1984 by the late Silvano Samaroli, this bottle has gone on to become a cult classic (est. £35,000-48,000). Sotheby’s currently holds the record for this bottle, setting a price of £72,600 in October 2019.

At the other end of the age spectrum, the Bowmore 50 Year Old Number 1 Vaults 1966 is a long-aged expression from the same vintage (est. £26,000-35,000). Bottled in 2017, only 74 bottles were produced, making it one of the rarest expressions of Bowmore ever released.

Elsewhere in Scotland, the sale offers a number of long-aged expressions from the Speyside region. Highlights include a bottle of Glenlivet Gordon & MacPhail Generations 70 Year Old 1940 (est. £3,000-4,000), the oldest whisky ever upon its release in 2010, as well as 40 year old expressions from The Balvenie and Glenfarclas, and a bottle of Mortlach Gordon & MacPhail 58 Year Old 1954 (est. £1,000-1,300).

Also in Speyside, The Macallan is strongly represented with three expressions aged over 50 years. The Macallan Fine & Rare 53 Year Old 1949 was bottled in 2002 at 53 years old, making it one of the longest aged of all the Fine & Rare series (est. £24,000-35,000). Bottled from cask 136, only 160 bottles of this exceptionally rare whisky were produced.

The Macallan Exceptional Single Cask 2018/ASB-1683/13 1950 was aged in an American Oak Sherry Butt for almost 68 years and was bottled at a remarkable 53.4% abv (est. £30,000-40,000). Released as part of the Exceptional Single Cask series, the packaging is relatively modest in Macallan terms, with a real focus on the quality of the exceptional liquid.

The Macallan The Red Collection 78 Year Old is not only the oldest bottle released from The Macallan, but the oldest age statement whisky ever released (est. £60,000-90,000).

Bidding on the 75-lot sale runs until 18 June. Full catalogue available to browse here.

About Sotheby’s Wine

Established in 1744, Sotheby’s is the world’s premier destination for art and luxury. Sotheby’s promotes access, connoisseurship and preservation of fine art and rare objects through auctions and buy-now channels including private sales, e-commerce and retail. Our trusted global marketplace is supported by an industry-leading technology platform and a network of specialists spanning 40 countries and 50 categories, which include Contemporary Art, Modern and Impressionist Art, Old Masters, Chinese Works of Art, Jewelry, Watches, Wine and Spirits, and Interiors, among many others.

Sotheby’s Wine’s annual worldwide auction sales of wine and spirits totaled an outstanding $92 million in 2020, with over 15,000 lots sold across 41 sales – a nearly 50% increase in the number of auctions held in 2019. Over $60 million of wine and spirits were sold to online bidders in 2020 versus $28 million in 2019, with 85% of all lots offered finding online buyers. Demonstrating continued strength in Asia, Sotheby’s led the market in the region for the third consecutive year, with over 70% of the total bid amount in all Wine and Spirits sales attributed to collectors in Asia.

Sotheby’s Wine’s has had the privilege of auctioning numerous record-breaking wines and spirits in recent years, with 2020 alone witnessing new world auction records for any bottle of Japanese whisky, any bottle of whisky produced by the Dalmore Distillery, as well as any bottle of Cognac. Sotheby’s Wine currently holds the world records for any whisky collection ever sold at auction, any private wine collection ever sold at auction, the most expensive bottle of wine ever sold at auction and the most expensive bottle of spirits ever sold at auction.

In addition to auction, Sotheby’s Wine launched a retail business in 2010. With a retail store located in Sotheby’s New York headquarters and e-commerce at www.sothebyswine.com, Sotheby’s Wine offers a carefully curated selection of wines from the world’s most prestigious producers and important regions. Expertly assembled by our experienced specialists, the selection is built upon lasting relationships with winemakers from across the globe, with bottles that are ready for immediate consumption, in addition to investment-worthy wines from highly sought-after vintages. A second retail location opened in Sotheby’s Hong Kong galleries in 2014.

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