Karuizawa Whisky Collection Coming To Auction Could Fetch $600,000

The now long shuttered Karuizawa distillery out of Japan is something of a mythical unicorn when it comes to that part of the whisky making world. Opened in 1955 near an active volcano, it produced a range of single malts from imported Golden Promise barley from Scotland which was often aged in sherry casks. It was ultimately mothballed in 2000, and the remaining stock now commands extremely high dollar values on the open market.

It is super rare to see more than a few bottles of these for sale together at one time, which makes the upcoming auction at Whisky Auctioneer out of Scotland all the more intriguing for the fact they’ve somehow gotten hold of almost every bottle ever released.

Karuizawa collection

Word from this whisky auction website is that between April 5 and April 17 they will be soliciting bids for individual lots of the 290 different bottles tied to this famous distillery. It is said to be the world’s largest known collection of Karuizawa whisky, and when all is said and done it is expected the mix of bottles will collectively fetch at least $600,000 USD.

Among the various offerings in this auction, perhaps the one which stands out the most is the ultra rare Karuizawa 1960, with only 41 bottles ever released. This one bottle along could easily drop at 1/6 of the total estimated value of the overall collection, especially when you consider the fact one of the other 40 bottles sold at auction back in 2015 fetched over $118,000 USD on its own.

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Over 230 of the bottles are single casks and include some exceptionally rare bottlings such as the 1963 50 Year Old and the 1964 48 Year Old bottled for Wealth Solutions, Poland. Excluding the highly rare bottle of 1960, the average price paid for each bottle within the collection is expected to top $2,500. As to how Whisky Auctioneer got hold of this collection, it is said it had been built up over the last 10 years by a European collector who apparently decided now was the time to part with it.

“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,” said Iain McClune, founder and owner of Whisky Auctioneer, in a prepared statement. “While we’ve seen a lot of our business come from within the UK and Europe, this particular collection is likely to have global appeal. 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.”