Buying Japanese Whisky in 2018 versus 2006

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If you’re visiting this website, you probably know how hard it has been to find age-statement Japanese whisky in the past two or three years.

Of course it hasn’t always been this way. Let’s look back to 2006, long before the Japanese whisky boom. The source is a 2006 Japanese alcohol beverage guidebook, published that year.

You might say “What’s the point of looking back?” and you’d have a point: it isn’t going to help us now. But it is still intriguing to see the price behavior of most of the bottles, yet realize there are still some bargains out there in 2018.

Suntory 

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Hibiki 30-year ¥80,000 (about $727)

Hibiki 21-year ¥20,000 (about $182)

Hibiki 17-year ¥9,190 (about $83)

Hibiki 17-year 50.5% non-chill filtered ¥9,523 (about $87)

Yamazaki 25-year ¥80,000 (about $730)

Yamazaki Sherry Wood Distilled in 1986 (20 year) ¥20,000 (about $182)

Yamazaki 18-year ¥18,000 (about $164)

Yamazaki 12-year ¥6,780 (about $62)

Hakushu 12-year ¥6,700 (about $61)

Yamazaki 10-year and Hakushu 10-year ¥4,000 (about $36)

Hokuto 12-year ¥4,000 (about $36)

Royal 15-year ¥4,530 (about $41)

Royal 12-year¥3,000 (about $27)

Special Reserve 10-year ¥2,230 (about $20)

(All 700 ml bottles unless noted otherwise)

I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.

Mercian (Karuizawa)

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Karuizawa Single Malt 17-year ¥10,000 (about $91)

Karuizawa Single Malt 15-year ¥5,000 (about $45)

Karuizawa Single Malt 12-year ¥3,000 (about $27)

Ship Bottle ¥2,310 (about $21)

Masters Blend ¥2,200 (about $20)

Note 2006 was before Number One Drinks made miraculous things happen with single casks.

Kirin Whisky

Single Malt  ¥15,000 (about $136)

Now the company produces a 17-year malt and a range of quality grain whiskies. Its 18-year Small Batch blend is relatively easy to find at major retailers.

Nikka Whisky

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Yoichi 20-year ¥20,000 (about $182)

Yoichi 15-year ¥10,000 (about $91)

Yoichi 12-year ¥7,000 (about $64)

Yoichi 10-year ¥4,500 (about 41)

Miyagikyo 12-year ¥7,000 (about $64)

Hokkaido 12-year 750 ml ¥6,800 (about $62)

Taketsuru 21-year ¥10,000 (about $91)

Taketsuru 17-year ¥5,000 (about $45)

Taketsuru 12-year 660ml  ¥2,450 (about $22)

The Blend Selection 660ml ¥4,380 (about $40)

Super Nikka 15-year ¥4,370 (about $40)

The Blend ¥3,150 (about $29)

Kingsland ¥3,110(about $28)

New Blend ¥2,470 (about $22)

Needless to say, the value of most age statements is more than 5x on auction sites. The only age statements still available are Taketsuru 21 and 17 but they are extremely hard to find in the wild.

On the other hand, it is relatively easy to find Kingsland and The Blend in mom and pop shops.

Hombo Shuzo (Mars Whisky)

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Maltage Kagoshima 1984 55% ABV  ¥9,524 (about $87)

Mars Komagatake 10-year Ceramic Bottle ¥4,400 (about $40)

Mars Maltage 8-year ¥2,670 (about $24)

The best Mars bottles, such as the Kagoshima single malts and Maltage 3+25, have accelerated in value rapidly in secondary markets.

The State of play in 2018

 

It’s pretty depressing out there; even no-age statement Hakushu and Yamazaki can be hard to find. However, if you keep hunting, you can find quality.

Overall, your best bet is to enjoy old bottles at the vast array of amazing bars throughout Japan. Here at Japan Whisky Tours, we will take you to the best, under-the-radar bars.

Contact us now through our Facebook page.

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