An online whisky investment platform has offered shares for a set of two exceptionally rare bottles of Japanese whisky from the legendary defunct Karuizawa distillery.
The Karuizawa Sapphire Geisha Collection, valued at $158,000 (£140,000), consists of two sets of two bottles, a 31-year-old single-cask single malt and a 36-year-old single-cask single malt, of which only 146 and 105 bottles respectively exist.
The bottles are tied to 1580 shares being sold for $100 each (£88), and with the exploding popularity of Japanese whisky seen with the increased popularity of Yamazaki 18 and the $50,000 sale of a single bottle of 36-year-old Sapphire Geisha just two years ago, there is potential for this investment to pay off by its expected maturity date of 2027.
Part of the reason for this is that the scarcity of Karuizawa will only increase over time, given that the silent distillery has been closed since 2000 and the old still was demolished in 2016. There cannot be any new Karuizawa whisky and so supply will continue to diminish.
This has made the Sapphire Geisha collection exceptionally rare despite only being made up of two bottles. There are, according to investment platform Vint, no complete pairs available, with a solitary bottle being sold in recent years.
This has made each new bottling a major event akin to the historic Scotch whisky sales that have continually broken sale price records.
Alongside low supply, there is also considerable demand for Japanese whisky and Karuizawa whisky specifically.
The distillery closed at the most inopportune moment, as 2001 was the year that Whisky Magazine awarded its “Best of the Best” award to a Japanese whisky (the Nikka Yoichi 10-year single malt) for the first time ever.
This has since made Karuizawa a hidden gem in Japanese whisky circles and one that has become increasingly collectable over the past two decades.