Japanese whiskey holds a special place in the heart of whiskey aficionados. But the rare 55-year-old Yamazaki whiskey is on a whole new level of indulgence. Why? Let’s find out.
A highly limited edition from the homeland of Japanese whiskey, the Yamazaki 55 is a real treasure that many collectors hope to possess. This exclusive whiskey was distilled by Japan’s oldest malt whiskey distillery, Yamazaki Distillery of Suntory, and 750ml bottle sold for a whopping US$475,000 (approx. S$681,000) at a Sotheby’s auction. Setting a new record, this Japanese whiskey took over the Yamazaki 50-year-old and Karuizawa 52-year-old as the most expensive Japanese whiskey. But what makes the Yamazaki 55 so expensive?
Why is the 55-year-old Yamazaki whiskey so expensive?
First distilled in 1960, the Yamazaki 55-year-old is a blend of precious single malts that were distilled under the supervision of Suntory’s founder Shinjiro Torii and later aged in Mizunara casks. Suntory’s fifth-generation chief blender Shinji Fukuyo and third-generation master blender Shingo Torii worked together to find the right alchemy, eventually mastering the signature art of blending these single malts to create a particular depth and complexity to this limited edition Japanese whiskey after maturing it for more than 55 years.
As the House of Suntory’s tribute to the passage of time, Yamazaki 55 was first bottled in Japan in 2020 with 100 bottles, before an additional 100 bottles were released in 2021. This gave the brand a rare exclusivity, and allowed consumers to enjoy a unique and refined Japanese whiskey experience with a historical significance associated with it.
The Yamazaki 55 whiskey possesses a deep amber hue distinctive from Mizunara casks. It has a robust aroma redolent of sandalwood, with a sweet, mature whiff like that of well-ripened fruit. On the palate, it has a soft, smooth first sip that blossoms in the mouth with flavour, moving on to a mixture of sweet and slightly bitter, followed by a woody note from the Mizunara cask. The finishing is slightly bitter, with hints of scented wood and smokiness.
The 55-year-old Yamazaki whiskey is then packaged in its own custom box that’s made of Japanese Mizunara wood, which is also what its cask is made of. This custom box is then finished with lacquer – a Japanese technique where the black surface shines from deep within and is smooth to touch.
(All Images: Suntory Whisky)