On October 2, 2016, a Guinness World Record was born for the highest price ever paid at an auction for a standard-sized bottle of whisky. Suntory’s Yamazaki 50-Year-Old Single Malt Whisky 2005 Release was sold at the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong during the Poly’s Auction Prestige Collection event. And the winning bid? A whopping $129,186 (more than a million Hong Kong dollars)! This recognition has set yet another high standard for the Japanese and international whisky markets.

(See “The Best Whisky in the World” blog post to read about another Yamazaki victory.)

When this particular Yamazaki 50-Year-Old Whisky released in 2005, it had a price tag of $9,500, which was considered quite high at the time. With just 50 bottles released to the market, though, this bottle has become a rarity and a collector’s treasure.

Tasting Notes

For half a century, this Japanese single-malt whisky aged in Japanese oak (mizunara) and has a luxurious, rich sweet-and-sour taste with notes of dried fruit and earthy or woody flavors and aromas like sandalwood and eaglewood followed by a dry, smoky finish. The taste is strong, but the texture smooth and silky – a truly divine whisky wonder for whisky enthusiasts to enjoy and admire.

How It Was Made

This exquisite single-malt Japanese whisky was made from Japanese barley that was malted, fermented, and distilled with Yamazaki’s natural mineral water, which was named by Japan’s Ministry of the Environment as one of the best mineral water sources available. Once the distillation process is completed, the malt was transferred to mizunara or Japanese oak casks, a whisky-making element that enhances the flavor and gives Japanese whiskies their own shelf in the whisky market. In these oak barrels, the Yamazaki single-malt whisky aged for 50 years. The mizunara casks also help give this whisky its lovely deep reddish amber color and a splendid fragrance and flavor that you can’t find in scotch whisky.

Dekanta has the first edition of this 2005 Release of the Yamazaki Single Malt Whisky, one of 50 bottles of this limited edition.In total, Suntory has shared 250 bottles with the public, but only 50 were part of the 2005 Release. Another 50 Yamazaki 50-Year-Old Single Malts were released in 2007, and the last 150 bottles entered the whisky market in 2011. Both the 2005 and 2007 bottles have a special washi paper cover secured to the top of the bottle with a gold cord while the 2011 bottle has a simple seal.

Dekanta currently has a one of each edition, so grab them while you can! Each bottle has its own box so you can truly treasure this whisky masterpiece.

Find more rare bottles from Japanese whisky distilleries in Dekanta’s Rare Bottles Collection. You can also learn more about Suntory’s Yamazaki Distillery here.

Emily