Karuizawa bottle breaks Japanese whisky auction record

An unprecedented single-owner collection of whiskies from Japan’s fabled Karuizawa distillery has sold for £700,000 ($895,870) in a UK auction.

The sale consisted of 296 bottles, which were sold as individual and group lots.

The biggest individual sale was £100,100 ($128,109), set for an impossibly rare bottle of 1960 52-year-old (The Archer) – the oldest liquid in the collection.

Archer whisky Japan

This bottle is the most valuable Japanese whisky on the planet

That’s a world record for a bottle of Japanese whisky at auction.

The (anonymous) buyer of that record-breaking bottle explained: “I am absolutely thrilled to have secured this incredible whisky, in the knowledge that it was distilled only a few years after Karuizawa started production in 1955 and that it’s only one of 41 bottles ever produced!

“I’ve won an important piece of history that will take pride of place at the heart of my collection."

Karuizawa is the gold standard for Japanese whisky and demand has ramped up in recent years.

Expert Andy Simpson from Rare Whisky 101 said: “Given the vast demand for Karuizawa whisky in recent years, we wondered whether the market might have begun cool for this iconic distillery.

“However, judging by the global interest and the prices paid for this most recent auction, it would appear that Japanese whisky is still at the apex of many collectors’ wish-lists.

“What we don’t know, of course, if whether any of these bottles will resurface on the secondary market in years to come, or whether they will be opened, enjoyed and forever lost to the collector market.”

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