Aggiornamento: 12 gen 2021
Oldest Japanese Whisky Ever Announced.
Firstly, let me set the record straight. There was another 55-year-old whisky released in the past, by the small Wakatsuru Saburomaru distillery back in 2016, however, according to Suntory the new Yamazaki 55 Year-Old contains whisky from the 1960s, making it the oldest in the history of Japanese whisky.
The release date of the new expression is June 30, 2020, with each bottle retailing at 3 million Yen (US$27,500) before tax. As Suntory has done in recent years, the bottle will be sold through a lottery intended only for residents living in Japan. There are only 100 bottles available, so sadly, the odds are against us. However, this makes the whole process fair and safe, compared to the recent bottle sales at whisky festivals which often end up chaotic and often dangerous.
The bottles come in the standard 700ml size, at 46% ABV. The liquid within contains white oak-aged whisky from 1964 and mizunara-aged whisky distilled in 1960. The packaging, as expected, is also very special. From the engraved characters on the bottle only the '55' is filled with gold dust and lacquer. The bottle mouth is wrapped in a traditional, handmade Echizen Washi with a braided cord and the bottle comes in a black Mizunara oak box.
In order to stop resellers, Suntory has stated that each winner will have their name engraved on the bottle. Looking at the huge market for reselling premium Japanese whisky this is understandable but is unlikely to stop collectors from getting their hands on such a rare bottle of Japanese whisky. Looking at the Yamazaki 50 Year-Old, the current trading price is approximately US$200,000-250,000 across live and online auctions. With this in mind, the new Yamazaki 55 Year-Old, which will launch on the year of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, will likely skyrocket after release and be trade for prices far above it's retail value. Alas, no matter how hard producers try, it's impossible to stop the crazed trading that ensues following popular, limited whisky releases.
Notes from Suntory: Aromas of agarwood and sandalwood come from the long maturation in mizunara, while the palate delivers sweetness and some bitter notes before turning woody and rich, followed by a long, rich bitterness. Please note that Japanese tasting notes are often hard to translate, so do wait for official notes (hopefully) from someone who tastes it.