A bottle of Japanese whisky sold at Hong Kong’s Bonhams Whisky Sale on August 17 for $343,000 (US), toppling both its estimated sale price and the previous world record for a single bottle of Japanese whisky. That is, to use a technical term, “holy shit money.”
The bottle in question is a 50-year-old Yamazaki, a rare single malt. Per Insider, Yamazaki is Japan’s oldest whisky distillery, and first opened in 1923. The Drinks Business notes that the bottle, first released in 2005, is one of only 50 made by the distillery; it was matured in mizunara (Japanese Oak) casks and is “thought to be the oldest Yamazaki on the market.”
Before the event, the estimated sale price for the bottle was between $229,310 and $305,749. In May, a 52-year-old Karuizawa called “The Dragon” was auctioned for $312,130; in January, another Yamazaki sold for $299,000. This bottle’s price tag made those other price tags look like very expensive chumps.
In a statement to The Drinks Business, Daniel Lam, the head of fine wine and whisky at Bonhams, said:
“The Yamazaki 50-year-old is an exceptional whisky and, of course, very rare indeed... This new world record for a bottle of Japanese whisky – just a few months after we set the previous one – and the world record we set for Scotch whisky in May demonstrate that the auction market for single malt whisky is in good health.”
The bottle sold to a purchaser who bid by phone and chose to remain anonymous, one assumes because this way they don’t have to share any with their college buddies.
While that is definitely holy shit money, it’s not even close to the world record for any whiskey. In May, a bottle of 60-year-old Macallan set the record with a $1.01 million sale; hours later, a second bottle sold for $1.1 million, neatly clearing that bar. That, to once again be technical, is oh my fucking god money.