Press Release

Sotheby’s Sells the Most Valuable Bottle of Japanese Whisky

London
A Bottle of Karuizawa 52 Year Old Cask #5627 Zodiac Rat 1960 Achieves £363,000 / $435,273

Strong Demand for Bordeaux and Burgundy

Two Cases of the Legendary Cheval Blanc 1947 Bring Combined Total of Almost £500,000
“Against a backdrop of extraordinary circumstance, the persistence and commitment of collectors came through in yesterday’s sales, where a bottle of Japanese whisky became the most valuable ever sold, accompanied by strong prices for Scotch whisky, led by the Macallan in Lalique Decanters. Collectors also continue to compete for the world’s greatest wines, and when there is an opportunity to acquire the very best the market has to offer, as with the two cases of the legendary Cheval Blanc 1947, they are willing to stretch to the highest level.”
Jamie Ritchie, Worldwide Head of Sotheby’s Wine

LONDON, 19 March 2020 – Yesterday’s sales of Finest & Rarest Wines and Spirits at Sotheby’s in London brought a combined total of £3.7 million / $4.4 million (est. £2.8 – 3.8 million / $3.3 – 4.5 million). A substantial proportion of lots achieved prices above their high estimates, and in a category where online bidding is traditionally strong, over 50% of the buyers placed their winning bids online.

KARUIZAWA 52 YEAR OLD ZODIAC RAT CASK #5627 1960

AUCTION RECORD FOR JAPANESE WHISKY
A new auction record was achieved for a bottle of Japanese whisky, with a bottle of ‘Karuizawa 52 Year Old Zodiac Rat Cask #5627 1960’, sold for £363,000 / $435,273 to an Asian private collector, and far exceeding its pre-sale estimate of £160,000-220,000. The oldest Karuizawa to have been released, this iconic bottle is one of only 41 that were produced, each uniquely identified by an individual netsuke carved from the oak cask head of cask #5627.

SALES AT A GLANCE
Finest & Rarest Spirits totalled £1,401,122 / $1,680,085 (est. £1 – 1.45 million / $1.2 – 1.7 million); 45% of lots sold achieved prices above the high estimate
Finest & Rarest Wines realised £2,264,018 / $2,714,784 (est. £1.8 – 2.3 million / $2.1 – 2.8 million); 51% of lots sold achieved prices above the high estimate

CHEVAL BLANC 1947

TOP LOTS
The auctions were led, respectively, by two landmarks in the world of whisky, and one of the most legendary Bordeaux:

The Macallan in Lalique Six Pillars Collection, rarely seen in an unbroken vertical, sold for £423,500 / $507,819 (est. £320,000-480,000)

A decanter containing the oldest whisky ever to be released from The Macallan Distillery – The Macallan Lalique Genesis Decanter 72 Year Old – brought £84,700 / $101,564 (est. £70,000-100,000)

A bottle of Karuizawa 52 Year Old Zodiac Rat Cask #5627 1960 became the most valuable bottle of Japanese whisky ever sold, achieving £363,000 / $435,273

Two cases of Cheval Blanc 1947 – considered the greatest Cheval Blanc of the 20th century – each made £242,000 / $290,182 (12 bottles, est. £140,000-190,000) and £229,900 / $275,673 (11 bottles, est. £130,000-170,000)

STATISTICS ON BIDDERS & BUYERS
Participants hailed from 21 countries, from across Asia, Europe and North America

CONTACT INFO

London | Matthew Floris | Matthew.Floris@Sothebys.com| +44 (0)20 7293 6000

About Sotheby’s: Sotheby’s has been uniting collectors with world-class works of art since 1744. Sotheby’s became the first international auction house when it expanded from London to New York (1955), the first to conduct sales in Hong Kong (1973), India (1992) and France (2001), and the first international fine art auction house in China (2012). Today, Sotheby’s has a global network of 80 offices in 40 countries and presents auctions in 10 different salesrooms, including New York, London, Hong Kong and Paris. Sotheby’s offers collectors the resources of Sotheby’s Financial Services, the world’s only full-service art financing company, as well as the collection, artist, estate & foundation advisory services of its subsidiary, Art Agency, Partners. Sotheby’s also presents private sale opportunities in more than 70 categories, including S|2, the gallery arm of Sotheby's Global Fine Art Division, and three retail businesses: Sotheby’s Wine, Sotheby’s Diamonds, and Sotheby’s Home, the online marketplace for interior design.

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Pinterest | Snapchat | Weibo | WeChat | Youku

*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium. Prices achieved include the hammer price plus buyer’s premium and are net of any fees paid to the purchaser where the purchaser provided an irrevocable bid.

Stream live auctions and place bids in real time, discover the value of a work of art, browse sale catalogues, view original content and more at sothebys.com, and by downloading Sotheby’s apps for iOS and Android

Stay informed with Sotheby’s top stories, videos & news.
Receive the best from Sotheby’s delivered to your inbox.

By subscribing you are agreeing to Sotheby’s Privacy Policy. You can unsubscribe from Sotheby’s emails at any time by clicking the “Manage your Subscriptions” link in any of your emails.

More from Sotheby's

We use our own and third party cookies to enable you to navigate around our Site, use its features and engage on social media, and to allow us to perform analytics, remember your preferences, provide services that you have requested and produce content and advertisements tailored to your interests, both on our Site as well as others. For more information, or to learn how to change your cookie or marketing preferences, please see our updated Privacy Policy & Cookie Policy.

Close