Monumental collection of rare Japanese whisky to be auctioned online

Whisky Auctioneer will oversee sale of 290 bottles of Karuizawa

Karuizawa Ghost Series
Karuizawa Ghost Series

The world’s largest known collection of rare and collectable Karuizawa whisky from Japan is set to go under the hammer this month, in a landmark online auction organised by Perth-based Whisky Auctioneer. Bids open on April 5 on bottles from the 290-strong collection, which has been built up over the past 10 years by a European collector. It covers almost every expression created by Karuizawa and has a total estimated value of more than £500,000.

A bottle of Karuizawa 1960 will be one of the auction lots
A bottle of Karuizawa 1960 will be one of the auction lots

Karuizawa single malts have become some of the most sought-after whiskies at auction since the distillery stopped production in 2000, as famous for their heavily sherried, powerful flavours as for their record returns – the top-performing bottlings have increased in value by more than 300 per cent since July 2013, according to market analysts Rare Whisky 101.

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Among the lots on offer on Whisky Auctioneer will be a bottle of Karuizawa 1960 that last sold at auction in Hong Kong for £97,000 in 2015, setting a new record for a Japanese whisky. Over 230 of the bottles are single casks and include some exceptionally rare items, such as the 1963 50 Year Old and the 1964 48 Year Old bottled for Polish company Wealth Solutions. With the exception of the 1960, average prices are set to top £2,000 a bottle, although some lots are expected to fetch considerably more.

Karuizawa single malts have become some of the most sought-after whiskies at auction since the distillery stopped production in 2000
Karuizawa single malts have become some of the most sought-after whiskies at auction since the distillery stopped production in 2000

“A collection of this size from one of the world’s most collectable distilleries has never previously been seen at auction, so we’re absolutely thrilled to have fought off some stiff competition to lead the sale,” says Whisky Auctioneer’s founder and owner, Iain McClune. “We expect to see some significant interest from rare whisky collector hotspots such as the US, Taiwan and, of course, Karuizawa’s homeland of Japan.”

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