“The Yamazaki 55” – Japanese Whisky with a $30K Price Tag

Suntory Holdings Limited, a Japanese brewing and distilling company, announced the release of “The Yamazaki 55” for 3 million yen (about $27,700).  The Yamazaki 55 only uses rarely available aged and unblended whiskies distilled before Tokyo 1964 Summer Olympic.  It is a blend of selected whiskies that were aged in white oak from 1964, in Mizunara oak from 1960, etc., which have reached the peak of aging.

Suntory chief blender Shinji Fukuyo says what special about The Yamazaki 55 is the complex aroma of agarwood and sandalwood from the long maturation in Mizunara.  The sweet and bitter notes turn into woody and rich taste, followed by a long rich bitterness.

The word “山崎”  in brush strokes is engraved on each crystal bottle, and the number 55 is decorated in lacquer with golden maki-e.  The neck of the bottle is wrapped with a sheet of handcrafted Echizen Washi paper, and a Kumihimo made with a Kyoto’s traditional silk braiding technique is tied around it.  The wooden case is made from Mizunara tree in Japan, and coated with Suruga lacquer. The Yamazaki 55 is only sold to the lucky winners who have won the customer lottery.  The window to participate in the lottery is already closed now.

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Yasushi Kurita was born in Tokyo. He has spent the last 30 years as a writer for print publications and TV. When he was in college, he spent two years in New York. His favorite band is the Atlanta Rhythm Section, making him one of about 15 Japanese people who actually like that band.