otheby’s first ever spirits sale consisting of only Asian Spirits is made up of bottles from The Three Continents Collection Part II. The first part of this collection debuted at auction in December 2021, selling for almost three times its low estimate. With Japanese whiskies from closed distilleries, Karuizawa and Hanyu, alongside the decorated Suntory distilleries Yamazaki and Hakushu, this sale is ably supported by an exciting set of Kweichow Moutai lots, including a full original case from the 1980s.
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Headlining the sale is an original case of twelve bottles of Kweichow Flying Fairy Moutai, bottled in the 1980s. This will be the most valuable lot of Moutai Sotheby’s has ever auctioned in New York, and takes its place alongside 5 further single bottles of both Five Star and Flying Fairy Moutai. The extremely popular national spirit of China is fast becoming the hottest property at auction, particularly older expressions which are now highly sought after.
Kweichow Flying Fairy Moutai NV (12 BT50)
With many expressions of Karuizawa among the most popular for Japanese whisky collectors and drinkers, this sale includes no less than 35 lots from the legendary distillery. Founded in the 1950s, Karuizawa Distillery began to gain some popularity in the 70s, however, similarly to Scotch, Japanese whisky went through a decline in the 80s with a drop in sales across the country. On December 31st, 2000, Karuizawa Distillery was mothballed and closed its doors for the last time. The following year a 12 year old Karuizawa was awarded Gold at London’s IWSC and marked the beginning of Japanese whisky’s rise to global popularity. Karuizawa Distillery was finally demolished in 2016 and so ended a legendary era in the history of Japanese Whisky.
The sale sees bottlings of Karuizawa dating from 1980 all the way through to 2000, the year in which it closed, as well as a handful of non-vintage bottlings.
Originally producing sake and other other types of alcoholic spirits, the Hanyu Distillery began to produce whisky in the early 1980s. Due to the length of time it takes to fully maturate the spirit and other economic factors, Hanyu sadly ceased whisky production in 2000, making it one of the shortest lived distilleries in recent times. The spirit has since gone on to garner a cult following since Ichiro Akuto (Grandson of Isouji Akuto, who founded the Hanyu Distillery in the early 1940s) managed to purchase the remaining stocks of Hanyu whisky and release them under his own brand.
This sale includes a number of rare Hanyu bottlings, including the Hanyu Ichiro's Malt Card Series 7 Of Hearts, Hanyu Caber Tossing Cask #9204 and several bottles of Hanyu Ichiro's Malt Card Series The Coloured Joker.
Hanyu Ichiro's Malt Card Series 7 Of Hearts 54.0 abv 1990 (1 BT70)
Estimate: 7,500 - 11,000 USD
Suntory and Nikka are undeniably the powerhouses of Japanese Whisky. Both companies own multiple distilleries and produce the best selling brands with exceptional international reputations. This sale encompasses the very best of both the Suntory and Nikka portfolios, with sought after single bottles and the opportunity to bid on full cases of six and twelve bottles across several price brackets.
- Nikka Yoichi Distillery
- Nikka Miyagikyo Distillery
- Suntory Yamazaki Distillery
- Suntory Hakushu Distillery