What Affects The Price Of Karuizawa Whisky
Selling Karuizawa whisky can seem like a daunting prospect. After all, there are so many ways that you can sell whisky. But which way is the most effective? And, how can you get the best price for your whisky? Well, that is where we come in.
At Mark Littler Ltd we can help you to sell your Karuizawa whisky quickly, stress-free, and for the best price. We make selling whisky online easy with Mark Littler Ltd.
What To Look For
Recently, a bottle of 52-year-old bottle of Karuizawa Single Cask sold for over £100,000. The bottle was distilled in 1960 and matured in single ex-sherry cask #5627 that eventually yielded only 41 bottles. Each of the 41 bottles was individually named and adorned with a unique katabori netsuke (carved figurine) which hangs from each of the bottle necks. The bottle most-recently sold was named “The Archer” as the figurine is carrying a bow and arrow.
The packaging of Karuizawa bottles is no-less spectacular; adopting an East-meets-West approach, it features a pair of Washi (Japanese paper – the word “washi” comes from wa meaning ‘Japanese’ and shi meaning ‘paper’) labels; one of the labels is hand-painted in Japan, the other is printed in Glasgow. The inner box being consists of a traditional Japanese puzzle-box, made in England from dark Wenge wood, and embellished with pieces of their respective casks. By contrast, the outer box is produced from lightly coloured White Ash wood, this box was designed to create visual representation of the whisky’s cask storage; a beautiful wooden exterior with a charred wooden interior, protecting the whisky stored within.
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The Six Factors That Affect The Price Of Karuizawa Whisky
There are six factors that will affect the price of your bottle of Karuizawa. These are the age of the whisky, the bottling date, the vintage, whether it is a single cask edition, the level of the whisky and the condition of the label and box.
Age of whisky
This refers to the number of years the whisky has spent maturing in the cask, not how long it has been in the bottle. The age is indicated on the label and can vary from 3 to well over 30 years old.
Most collectible bottles are over 10 years old and value usually increases with the age of the whisky. Whisky over 30 years old is the most sought after as it is the rarest.
Any whisky bottled at over 50 years old is highly desirable and a very limited number of distilleries have released whisky over 50 years old.
This relates to when the whisky was bottled. As bottles from a specific year are consumed, the remaining bottles become rarer, so even a ‘standard’ malt released in the 1980’s can become sought after.
If vintage is not stated bottle volume can be an indicator of bottling era. Bottles from the 1970s and earlier use fluid ounces (FL.OZ). In the 1980s standard bottles size was 75cl and in 1991 the standard size (in the EU) changed to 70cl. Note that standard bottle size is still 75cl in the USA, and other bottle sizes are occasionally used, in which case you will have to use other indicators.
The distillation year might also be described as the bottle vintage, and refers to the specific year in which the whisky was distilled (made). It is one of the most important factors that can impact the price of your collectible whisky.
In general, the earlier the distillation year the more collectible your bottle of whisky. Bottles from the first half of the 20th century are highly valued by collectors and fetch a premium. That being said, the bottler is also important, and so two whiskies distilled in the same year, at the same distillery, but bottled by different bottlers will vary in value.
Label & packaging
The label on a bottle of collectible whisky is very important and should be in pristine condition to fetch the highest value. If the label is damaged in any way, such as scratching, blemishing, pealing or mould, then this will have a negative impact on the value.
The box condition is almost as important as the label condition, and the correct box is very important to collectors. A bottle with a damaged or marked box will be worth less, and a bottle without its original box could be worth up to 30% less.
The level of the whisky has a large impact on the value. On almost all bottles it should be well into the neck, a level in the lower half of the neck is worth less and levels into the shoulder will significantly impact the value.
Older bottles are more prone to a drop in level as the bottles were not intended for storage. A drop in level implicates the long term storage prospects for any collector but as alcohol is more volatile than water it is the alcohol that will evaporate first, which impacts the flavour.
Single Cask Bottlings
Single cask bottlings are generally more sought after, as by default they are unique and usually of a significantly limited edition. Look out for numbers on your bottle like XXX/250, with the second number generally being less than 500, which would indicate a single cask edition.
Longer edition numbers such as XXX/5000 are often also collectible. These longer numbers usually indicate that the release is a vatting of a number of casks.
How We Can Help Sell Your Karuizawa Whisky
Our brokerage service is a simple, stress-free way to sell whisky. We will broker the sale between you and one of our buyers. For this service, we charge a 10% commission (inc. VAT) of the final sale price of the item. This avenue is fast and simple. We will take care of everything for you.
At Mark Littler Ltd we can also help you to sell whisky via auction. We have teamed up with the country’s leading online whisky auctions to help you to sell whisky at auction without the hassle. This is a great option for lower-value bottles, or if you do not mind taking some risks.
The final option is selling your whisky through our one-of-a-kind online shop. On our shop, we broker the sale of high-value bottles for our customers. Your bottle will sit amongst rare and expensive whisky and our advertising campaigns aim to draw the eye of whisky collectors everywhere.
What is the price of your Karuizawa whisky?
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The History Of Karuizawa
Originally established by Mercian, Karuizawa is the producer of some of the world’s most highly regarded and sought-after Japanese single malts. The name is taken from a spa town at the base of Mount Asama that can be found when you are travelling to Nagano from Tokyo. It was the site of the Olympic Games in 1998 and is considered to be an extremely sacred and holy area.
The distillery was originally built during the 60s and was at the time owned by Sanraku, a sake brand. Everything takes place in one building, from mashing to the fermentation and distillation. Although the water they use comes from the Asama, they import selected malt from Scotland along with many of the company’s casks.
Karuizawa’s 12, 15, 17 and 21-year-old malt bottlings won medals at London’s International Wine and Spirits Competition in 2001 and are also responsible for the highly desirable Vintage range. This was launched in 2002 and consists of cask strength, un-chill-filtered single malts. There are other ranges from Karuizawa that are imported and bottled by Number One Drinks, across Europe, such as Noh and Number One Drinks. These varieties are considered to have a more unique taste and character.
The Karuizawa distillery produced outstanding whisky, many of their releases have received international acclaim. They have created almost 300 single casks which are becoming increasingly rare over time.
We contact our international network of customers for the best offers.
If you decide to proceed with an offer we issue you with a contract.
Send us your bottle. We have a fully insured courier service available.
We complete the sale with the buyer and send your funds via BACS.
Bottle Selling FAQ
“I found Mark’s details online after looking to sell a collectable bottle of whisky. I was going to use a well know auction site but Mark secured an offer higher than the highest estimation from any auction house, within days, even after the 10% commission was deducted. Communication was perfect; punctual, to the point and polite. Collection and delivery were taken care of by Mark and instruction was clear and easy to follow. Payment was received to my bank within days of posting the bottle. I can’t recommend Mark enough; he runs a tight ship gets top end offers from his clients and delivers quickly.”
Rod Fountain, via Google
“Mark has been very helpful in helping me sell a bottle of whisky which was given to my father many years ago. He was very professional and was always quick to reply to my questions. Not knowing anything about whisky, Mark was there to offer some good advice and I believe he is very knowledgeable about his work. The sale was done very [quickly], and the money was in my bank account the next day. I would highly recommend his services.”
Kim Hendrickx, via Google
“Wow, what a refreshing change it was to meet Mark. He was the consummate professional with an approachable and warm personality who clearly had an in-depth knowledge of his subject which he used to give me a first-class service when I wanted to sell a whisky collection. For anyone who is considering any similar specialist whisky transactions I can certainly recommend him without reservation.”
Duncan Chambers, via Google