Largest Collection of World’s Rarest Japanese Whisky to Hit Auction


The Karuizawa distillery from Japan, long shuttered, has now become something of a legend; a tale simply told and retold but rarely seen in the flesh. The last anyone saw of this mythical distillery was at the turn of the new millennium – Karuizawa officially shut down in 2000, not even five decades after it opened near an active volcano in 1955. Its single malt range was produced from Scotland’s Golden Promise barley, and typically aged in sherry casks.

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Since its monumental shuttering, the prices of the remaining Karuizawa whisky have skyrocketed to staggering prices on the open market. Given its rareness, one would not typically expect that more than a few bottles of Karuizawa whisky are put up for sale. Scotland’s Whisky Auctioneer is set to make a monumental opening when it unveils what is believed to be the largest known collection of Karuizawa whisky in the world.

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Of the highlights to expect from the imminent auction, the fascinatingly rare Karuizawa 1960 will no doubt be the star. Only 41 bottles of Karuizawa 1960 have ever been released, with the last bottle auctioned in 2015 fetching a monumental US$118,000. The collection is a decade’s efforts by a European collector, who has reportedly decided to part with the bottles.

According to the official whisky auction website, bids will be solicited for individual lots of the 290 bottles from the iconic distillery between April 5 and April 17. The bottles are said to fetch an impressive total of US$600,000, by a conservative estimate.

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