Bonhams Hong Kong's first sale of exceptional Japanese Single Malt Whisky during the Fine and Rare Wines, Cognac & Single Malt Whisky Auction held on 23 May at the Island Shangri-La Hotel was a roaring success with all 30 bottles sold at a few times their pre-sale estimates. Spirited bidding saw connoisseurs competed for these hidden treasures from the fabled Karuizawa and Hanyu distilleries. A bottle of Karuizawa-1968-Whisky Live 2012 sold for HK$45,220, doubling its pre-sale estimate, while a set of Hangyu Ichiro's Card Series consisting of four bottles achieved HK$22,610.
The Karuizawa Distillery was established in 1955 in the foothills of Mount Asama, an active volcano. The area is a popular mountain resort to the north-west of Tokyo and the distillery is the highest in Japan at 850 metres above sea level. The environment is ideal for whisky production, enjoying low temperature and high humidity. However, production of single malt whisky at the distillery ceased in 2000.
The Hanyu story started in the 17th century. The business was founded by the Akuto family, sake-makers from the town of Chichibu. The Hanyu distillery plant was built during the Second World War and the family began making Scotch style whisky in about 1980. Unfortunately Hanyu went bankrupt and stopped distilling in 2000.
Among the blue-chip Scottish whisky, Macallan single malts remain the favourite tipple among connoisseurs with a bottle of Macallan Lalique-50 year old selling for HK$261,800. A rare magnum of Macallan Silver Jubilee-25 year old achieved HK$65,450.
The sale of vintage Cognac, which Bonhams introduced at auction in May 2012, continues to go from strength to strength. A Courvoisier Erte Collection achieved HK$92,820, while the A. Hardy Perfection Cognac sold for HK$130,900.
In the Fine and Rare Wines section, Romanée-Conti led with five of the top ten lots coming from this iconic Burgundy domaine. A six-bottle case of the 1999 vintage made HK$571,200 and an assortment case of the 2001 vintage achieved HK$190,400. These exceptional Romanée-Conti all came from a private European collector.
"Bonhams have always distinguished ourselves with our pioneering spirit. We were the first off the block in Hong Kong to sell fine and rare wines, and remain the only auction house to offer single malt whisky and cognac. The successful sale of the Japanese single malt whisky proves that connoisseurs are always seeking new taste and diversity in libations to expand their collections. We will continue to bring niche wines and spirits to satisfy their thirst for new drinking experiences," said Daniel Lam, Bonhams Hong Kong's wine specialist.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com