Here’s our next part to the Japanese Whisky Budget Series, and we’re featuring Japanese whiskies that have a price tag between $2,000 to $7,000. You’ll find that many of these whiskies are from closed distilleries, so they’re extremely rare, hence the rather high price on these bottles. But, if you want to have a one-of-a-kind whisky bottle in your possession, it may be worth the price! Check out our extensive list of Japanese whiskies between $2,000 to $7,000:
In 2009, the Yamazaki 1984 Single Malt Whisky was released to celebrate the Yamazaki Distillery’s 25th anniversary. This Japanese single malt is one of three Suntory whiskies that won the Gold Medal for the International Spirits Challenge in 2009 where judges had to taste almost 300 different types of whiskies to determine the winners of each award.
With this recognition, the Yamazaki 1984 Single Malt is well worth the price tag as it’s a rarity and internationally known whisky brand. Blended with various whiskies distilled in 1984 and matured in Japan’s exclusive mizunara casks (Japanese oak casks), this rich liquor holds a strong, one-of-a-kind flavor profile that can only be found in Japan.
Distilled in 1990 and bottled in 2012, this 22-year-old single malt from the silent distillery, Hanyu, is one of 69 bottles available. Since this whisky is from a closed distillery and less than 100 bottles were released to the market, the price tag reflects how valuable this whisky is; Hanyu is a closed distillery and there won’t be anything like this single malt again. Ichiro’s Malt is a whisky brand established by Venture Whisky. The owner, Ichiro Akuto, inherited Hanyu’s stock and continues bringing these legendary whiskies to life through his brand.
One of 500 bottles, the Nikka 35-Year-Old Pure Malt Whisky was released in 2004 to commemorate Nikka’s 70th anniversary. Elegant and exotic, this lusciously sweet whisky has hints of spices, smokiness, and a slightly dry palate due to the years of maturation. Beautifully presented in a wooden box, the Nikka Pure Malt Whisky makes a classic addition to your collection.
The Owner’s Cask is a tradition Suntory started that allowed customers to directly purchase a one-of-a-kind cask of whisky in their name and have bottles of the single-cask whisky delivered to their door. This special single-cask, single-malt whisky is from cask #6V1032 that was distilled in 1986 and bottled in 2006. To get a taste of this exquisite single-cask whisky and try something completely new in the whisky market that isn’t blended with other whiskies from different casks, this Suntory spirit is sure to please your palate.
The last bottle of the Karuizawa Cocktail Series, the Karuizawa 1984 single-malt whisky has a blend of whiskies matured in sherry cask, giving this rare spirit a rich, sweet sherry flavor profile. This bottle features a label that exhibits a unique art piece by the artist Hideyuki Katsumata, and this entire collection was originally sold by La Maison du Whisky. Distilled in 1984 and bottled in 2012, this 28-year-old whisky is a Karuizawa classic, and it’s a must-have treasure from this now-closed distillery.
You can find the entire 1981-1984 set here.
Named the World’s Best Whisky by Jim Murray from the Whisky Bible in 2015 out of 1,000 other competitors, the Yamazaki 2013 Sherry Cask is the first Japanese whisky to ever hold this internationally acclaimed title. This award-winning single-cask whisky received a mark of 97.5/100 and was praised for being “near indescribable genius” and a bold burst of flavor that earned this whisky the #1 spot.
Matured in sherry casks crafted from Spanish oak and used with mineral water from the wells near Mount Tenno in Kyoto, this breathtaking spirit is a no-age statement whisky, which means that the number of years the single-cask whisky matured is not printed on the bottle; however, the year it was bottled is on the label. With 18,000 bottles released and quickly selling out, Yamazaki 2013 Single Cask has become a must-have item on whisky enthusiasts’ wish lists. Grab this rare and world-famous whisky while you can!
Hanyu 1988 Big Butt whisky is another exclusive whisky bottle from the silent distillery, and it’s quite a unique whisky both taste-wise and visually. Featuring a wrestling match between a male rikishi (‘sumo wrestler’ in Japanese) and a female rikishi, Hanyu’s Big Butt displays the long-standing interest of female sumo wrestling in Japan that has lasted for centuries.
A legend from the 13th Century goes like this: A sumo wrestler from Kyoto named Uchinaga was traveling to a tournament and saw a beautiful young lady on the way. He reached out to try and touch her, but the woman was quicker and trapped him in a stronghold, dragging him back to her hut. She was known as Takashima no Oiko, and she trained Uchinaga and made him into a strong and successful wrestler.
Another story from the 1600s describes a nun who was able to defeat the best male wrestlers during that time, and legitimate historical records show that professional female wrestling matches were well-known and popular in prior time periods.
Even blind men and women had matches, and some of the attraction to these female sumo matches were due to the names of the female wrestlers who went in the ring, including Chichigahari (“Big Boobs”) and Tamanokoshi (“Holder of the Balls”). Although this popular sport featuring female wrestlers was banned in 1873, it’s still a prominent part of Japan’s history.
Now you know a fun and interesting fact about Japan’s history that you can share with others while you indulge in this rare Hanyu spirit! With an intense, buttery, and sweet flavor profile, this single-malt whisky is a delicacy to savor and a rarity to treasure.
Similar product: Hanyu Nice Butt 1988 Single Nippon Malt Whisky – $3,399.99
Originally an exclusive whisky gift for Suntory’s employees, this Hibiki 30-Year-Old Whisky Gold Label release is the final version and was only available between 1998 to 2000. Now, it’s a rare gem that makes a grand addition to your whisky collection. To complement this dazzling bottle, a golden box comes with it, making it a true treasure for displaying in your personal bar.
Although this set doesn’t have Japanese whisky inside the bottle, this scotch whisky collection is actually influenced by a Japanese whisky distillery (Karuizawa). Each bottle has a samurai image on the label, and this set was also inspired by Karuizawa’s Samurai Set:
If you would like scotch whiskies with a nod to Japanese arts and history, then this set is for you!
Specifically matured in mizunara, also known as Japanese oak, the Yamazaki Mizunara 2010 single-malt whisky is a no-age statement spirit that was bottled in 2010 and presents a honey-like sweetness with hints of sandalwood and smokiness. As a Suntory classic, this Yamazaki-made whisky is a gift to enjoy.
Here’s one of the bottles from Hanyu’s legendary Playing Card Series: the Three of Hearts! This sought-after 54-bottle collection once sold at a Hong Kong Bonhams auction for a jaw-dropping $490,000, and it’s extremely difficult to even obtain the entire 54-bottle series. But, here at Dekanta, we have several bottles, including the Three of Hearts, from the Hanyu Playing Card Series.
This particular Playing Card single-malt whisky has its own unique sweet and spicy flavor profile and truly represents the Three of Hearts card with its dark amber, red-accented color. Each Playing Card has its own characteristics, and you can explore the other Playing Cards Dekanta currently has available:
- The Colored and Monochrome Jokers
- Queen of Spades
- Nine of Hearts
- Seven of Spades
- Find more cards in the Hanyu collection here.
You can read more about this Hanyu-exclusive collection in our other blog posts:
As one of the winners of the Best Single Malt Award 2008 from World Whiskies Awards, the Yoichi 20-Year-Old 1987 Whisky is a prized possession. This Yoichi 1987 from Nikka is only one out of 2,000 bottles released. Strong smoky peat, dried fruits, spices, and buttery sweetness are tasting notes you’ll find in this bottle of Yoichi whisky. This award-winning single malt goes perfectly well with water, bringing out the incredible flavors it has to offer.
Yet another champion of a whisky from Suntory! The Hakushu 25 Years Old Whisky won the best whisky award in the 17th International Spirits Challenge in 2012 along with Suntory’s Yamazaki 18-Year-Old Whisky. During this time, Suntory was also awarded the Distiller of the Year Award, bringing more international recognition to the oldest Japanese whisky company around.
The Hakushu 25 Years Old was also presented with the Best Japanese Single Malt Whisky Award 2016 by the World Whiskies Award. With this whisky’s stack of international awards, it’s no wonder the Hakushu is over $3,000 per bottle! This refreshing single malt has a bright and clean fruity sweetness that mixes harmoniously with a peaty smokiness.
Revered as the World’s Best Blended Whisky in 2008 by the World Whiskies Awards, the Hibiki 30 Years Old is a Suntory classic and has a deep and complex flavor and aroma profile. If you’d like to try a blended whisky instead of a single malt, this lovely liquor is sure to please your palate and give you a whole new whisky experience.
From Nikka’s Miyagikyo Distillery, this single-cask 1988 whisky was born! Each cask has its own unique flavor, and that means you get a taste of liquid gold that will only be created once! With its warm, silky, and sweet flavor, this lovely single-cask whisky has aged for over 20 years and was bottled in 2011 and has slightly smoky, peaty notes for an added punch of flavor.
Presenting two types of exquisite art forms, the Karuizawa 36 Views of Mount Fuji is a whisky from a closed distillery that is dedicated to the renowned masterpiece by the artist Hokusai (1760-1849). Each of the 36 prints from Hokusai’s collection shows Mount Fuji, a sacred mountain in Japan, in various climates and locations.
In this particular piece (#19 out of 36), called Yoshida at Tōkaidō, the Fujimi teahouse is featured and two women are enjoying the view of Mount Fuji in the background. “Yoshida” is a town in southern Shizuoka Prefecture and “Tōkaidō” is a Japanese term for a geographic region in Japan that once connected capitals of ancient provinces. This is a truly genuine art piece, both in liquid and physical form!
Although the Kawasaki Distillery has shut down, only a few casks have ever been bottled from this small whisky distillery, which was known for producing superior grain whiskies. The Kawasaki 100th Anniversary 1982 Whisky is one of 663 bottles released, and this rare whisky, matured in a sherry butt for nearly 30 years, is a special rarity for a whisky fan’s collection.
Here’s another look at a whisky from a small distillery called Mars Shinshu Distillery, which is owned by Hombo Shuzo Company, and the Mars Single-Cask Kansyou-Issiki 20 Years Old is one of the few whiskies this distillery has released. Bottled with whisky from a single cask, this dram gives you an exciting dose of rare, luxurious liquid that you can only find in one cask.
For more gift guides and posts about our Japanese Whisky Budget series, be sure to check them out on our blog! You can find many high-quality Japanese whiskies in a wide range of price points.