Japanese Whisky- More Auction Crazyness!

Many readers would have seen the report last month on the Bonhams Hong Kong Auction for fine and rare wines, cognacs and single malts, particularly in regards to the prices fetched for Japanese whisky. I read about it on Whiskies R Us at the time. Well a comment from a JWR reader attached to my post on the bottle of Ichiro’s Malt Ace of Clubs that sold for Euro605 on Whiskyauction, prompted me to dig a little deeper. So over to the Bonhams website to check out the individual prices on the various lots from this auction back on the 23 of May.
Now I have readers from over 80 countries and of those Hong Kong is in the top 5 for views. I would assume that other blogs about Japanese whisky would also have a very high readership from Hong Kong also. So, these good people from Hong Kong, and I’ve met a few, are enthusiastic and knowledgeable Japanese whisky fans. These whisky enthusiasts have a number of ways to source Japanese whisky, including from Japan itself. So who in Hong Kong decided to pay these sky high prices for whiskies that they could have bought a lot cheaper by other means? This was not just the case for Japanese whisky at this particular auction, but as far as I could tell, for many a Scottish whisky as well.
One of the examples used in the original article about this auction, was for 4 bottles of the last release of Ichiro’s Malt Card Series sold as one lot. This lot sold for $2914. When these were released earlier this year they could be had for about $450 for the set. We are talking more than 6 times the original price. There was a number of posts on Japanese whisky blogs about this release, so a reasonable time to get ready to buy if you were keen. Heck, it’s only a 4 hour flight from HK to Tokyo under 4 hours to Osaka. Against that auction price you could flown over to Japan for a couple of nights to pick them up and still saved yourself a huge chunk of dough. Even recently, The Whisky Exchange had the four of them for a sale at a retail price I think no more than around $850. Sure it was only a small allocation but if you were moderately switched on you could have bought them for that price plus delivery. Yes, TWE does ship to HK.
The next example I will use from the auction is a couple of Suntory whiskies sold as a single lot. The lot consisted of a bottle of Suntory Royal No Age Statement and a bottle of Suntory Signature Blend No Age statement. Both bottles had very low fill levels. This lot sold for the scarcely believable sum of $1687. You could buy these in Japan for about $150 for the pair and only because the Signature Blend sells for a decent price. The Suntory Royal that was sold as part of this lot can be bought any day of the week in Japan for about $10-15.
We can all make up our own minds if some of the prices paid at this auction were just a tad cuckoo. There is a saying however, about some people having more money than sense………..
Here is the link to the full list of items and their sale price.

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