Year In Review: Top Japanese Whisky of 2016

As we look back at 2016, it’s a year full of things to be thankful for. Above all, we are very thankful for all of the people we have the privilege of calling friends. It’s wonderful to hear stories of Japanese Whisky being a part of birthdays, anniversaries, promotions, holidays and so much more. Enjoying a fine bottle of whisky with the people who mean the most to you is an experience to be cherished. These experiences are what motivate us to continue our pursuit of offering the finest Japanese Whisky to the world.

This year we have sold thousands of bottles at all different price points, our highest being sold for over $250,000. Amongst all the bottles we’ve sold, we decided to take a look at our favorite bottles of 2016:

1. Yamazaki 50 Year. $118,000
Yamazaki 50 set a Guinness World Record in 2016 for the highest price paid at auction for a standard sized bottle of whisky. The previous record holder? Also, a Japanese Whisky… A bottle of Karuizawa 1960. These well-aged Japanese whiskies are very difficult to come by, thus the high price tag. Only 50 bottles of Yamazaki 50 were released each year, this is as rare of a bottle of Yamazaki as you’ll ever find. We’re privileged to have multiple bottles in stock so you can skip the auction house.

2. Karuizawa Ghost Series. $112,000
An amazing set of 7 bottles from the world famous Karuizawa distillery. This collection belongs in a museum, it includes some of the most difficult bottles to find anywhere. Karuizawa is a silent distillery that is no longer producing whisky. These rare collections will only become increasingly difficult to obtain as time goes on.

3. Yamazakura 963, 21 Year Old. $349.99
When we were offered the online exclusive for the 21 year old version of Yamazakura 963, we were ecstatic! Among all of the developments in 2016, being able to offer this renowned local whisky to our customers was incredible. The whisky has received glowing reviews from our customers, many of which have been steadily placing additional orders. While this blended whisky is more obscure than Hibiki, it’s blenders have paid close attention to quality. We’ve been enjoying this bottle regularly ourselves… It’s a great dram!

4. Saburomaru 1960 Single Malt 55 Years Cask Strength. $12,500
In 2016, the oldest Japanese Whisky ever released hit our warehouse. The Saburomaru 1960 is a rare find with only 155 bottles released. The whisky is bottled at cask strength allowing an unprecedented taste of well-aged single malt Japanese whisky without any dilution. We’ve been pleased to offer this bottle online throughout the year.

5. Hibiki 21. $460.00
After winning the “Best Blended Whisky of 2016”, we had to select this for one of our top whiskies of the year. This whisky beat out notable names from around the world to top the charts. This is truly one of the best whiskies out there, it is a staple on our own shelf!

6. Hibiki 35 Year Old Arita Takumi 2017 Ceramic Decanter. $20,000
While many enthusiasts consider Hibiki 30 as the top of line, there is in fact one better. Hibiki 35 is a highly limited release of Suntory’s favorite blend. The whisky comes in an incredible ceramic decanter that was hand crafted by Japans finest artisans. Only 150 bottles have been released this year making it a hard one to come by.

7. Karuizawa 1963 50 Year Old and 1964 48 Year Old. $94,000
Another amazing Karuizawa set, some of the oldest whisky in all of Japan! The set includes a 48 year old and 50 year old bottles, each of which are among just 131 bottles released. This set is sure to be the crown jewel of any collection.

8. Ichiro’s Malt – The Colored Joker Coloured & Monochrome Set. $15,000
When we acquired this famous Ichiros set we were elated! We’re big fans of Ichiro Akuto and all that he has contributed to Japanese Whisky. The Joker set is one of the crown jewels of his extraordinary career, offering the ability to experience the now closed Hanyu distillery. Hanyu was founded by Ichiro’s family but closed in 2000. Ichiro purchased up remaining stock and began releasing the highly sought whisky under his own line. We love this set and had to put it on our list!

9. Hakushu 25 Year Old. $3,200
Hakushu 25 won an award for being the “Worlds Best Single Malt Japanese Whisky” at the World Whisky Awards in 2016. This whisky has received high marks from experts around the globe, including a 93/100 from Jim Murray himself.

10. Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2016. $3,400
Yamazaki Sherry Cask caught the world by storm in 2015 when it was named the World’s Best Whisky. That version, the 2013 edition, was met with much skepticism as critics tried to wrap their heads around a Japanese Whisky topping all other contenders. While the hype has calmed down, we believe the 2016 edition is even better. This is truly one of the best Japanese Whiskies that we’ve sold in 2016.

11. Yamazaki 12 Year Old. $160
Our customers have spoken — Yamazaki 12 was our best selling Single Malt Whisky of 2016. It serves as an excellent introductory bottle to those interested in Japanese Whisky. The awards are plentiful: Gold at the International Sprits Challenge; Double Golds at the San Francisco World Sprits Competition; Best in Class at the International Wine and Spirits Competition and more!

12. Yamazaki 18 Year Old. $550
Our second place finisher for best selling single malt is Yamazaki 18. It has always been one of our favorite Japanese whiskies in the mid-range price tier. In 2016 it was named the best Japanese Single Malt Whisky for it’s respected age range.