How much would you pay for Japan's most expensive whisky?

How much would you pay for Japan's most expensive whisky?

When the Berlin Wall was going up, this whisky was going into the cask. It'd better be worth the wait. And the price

Yamazaki 50 Years OldYamazaki 50 Years Old -- if you started saving in 1961 you might be in luck.

It’s 1961 and the world’s population has just reached a staggering 4 billion.

The girls have gone bouffant, the boys are wearing skinny ties. The Beatles play their first gig, Japan gets color TV and we lose Ernest Hemingway but gain Susan Boyle.

In Yamazaki, Kyoto Prefecture, someone pours new distillate into casks made of mizunara -- that gloriously fragrant, notoriously leaky Japanese oak.

It wasn’t a momentous event at the time. But after half a century in the warehouse, those casks have been tapped and the whisky forms the backbone of the latest Yamazaki 50 Years Old, set to be released on December 13.

If you have to ask ...

The whisky is a reddish amber with a nose of overripe fruit, a wonderful aromatic aloeswood unfurling on the palate and a long, faintly smoky finish.

Or so I’m told. Maker Suntory sent me a photo, rather than a sample, perhaps because a bottle of the stuff sells for ¥1 million ($12,970) a pop.

If your eyes just bounced out of their sockets, pop them back in.

A million coins is the going rate for 700 milliliters of Yamazaki 50 Years Old, Japan’s priciest single malt, and there’s no shortage of demand.

Suntory has released the expression twice before, and both times it sold out within 48 hours.

Start saving

This time there are 150 bottles on offer and the company is already taking pre-orders via department stores, so if you want one, crack open your piggy bank asap. 

And if you find it sold out, why not buy 300 bottles of the Yamazaki 10 Years Old instead? They'll set you back the same amount.

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Nicholas Coldicott is a contributing editor at Whisky Magazine Japan.

Read more about Nicholas Coldicott