Orlando’s Morimoto Asia just got one of 44 bottles of Yamazaki 55, a Japanese whiskey that sells for $950,000, and we’ve tasted it
The House of Suntory, the legendary Japanese whiskey distiller, released the Yamazaki 55 – the oldest single malt whiskey ever built – and Morimoto Asia took home one of 44 bottles that made it to the US.
I was honored to sample a Yamazaki 55 at a dinner party hosted by Gardner Dunn, Beam Suntory’s brand ambassador and executive chef at Morimoto Asia Yuhi Fujinaga, earlier this week to highlight Suntory’s star quaff as well as Suntory’s lineup of 12 and 18 – and 25-year-old whiskers .
The Fujinaga dishes were amazing (see list below) with great offerings of A5 layer wagyu tartare, Peking duck, otoro and akamotsu (black sea fish), as well as Japanese catches like managatsu (silver pomfret) and kinki (spiky fish).
As exceptional as Fujinaga’s dishes were, the Yamazaki 55 was the main attraction, and what a beauty. The deep amber spirit – a blend of rare single malts – is made from whiskey distilled in 1960 from Japanese oak barrels (mizunara) by founder Suntory Shinjiro Tori, and single malts aged between American white oak in 1961 and 1964 by the second master blender For Suntory Chizu Saji.
The result? Well, judging by the stunned faces, rolling eyes, and cries of “Knockout!” Around the table, cheerful. This was mid-century in Japan in your mouth. Not so much Godzilla as Kyo Sakamoto. The intoxicating scent of sandalwood incense. Velvety soft feel. Woody notes and a finish reminiscent of coconut made everyone groan like a handful of pigeons drunk with love.
And he is right. Not only is it 55 minutes to make, but a bottle (if you can find one) retails for $60,000.
Suntory unveiled the 55-year-old whiskey last year with a 100-bottle release on the Japanese market. A lottery system was set up to determine who could buy a bottle for 3 million yen, or $27,000. This year, they released an additional 100 bottles for select global markets, including the United States, with a suggested retail price of $60,000.
However, prices in the secondary market have risen due to their rarity. The bottles auctioned for $775,000 and $800,000, while online retailers are selling the bottle for up to $950,000.
The $60,000 price tag set by Suntory is supposed to be fair and honorable, so, needless to say, winning retailers and auction houses will likely never receive versions of Suntory again.
If you want to sample a little dram (or four) at Morimoto Asia, a half-ounce pour will cost you $2,000. It might be a great holiday gift for someone in your life who is immersed in experiences, not things.
Or you can treat them to Omakase who will be presided over by the Iron Chef himself on December 5th. Yes, Chef Morimoto will be serving the Omakase multi-course dish alongside 12, 18, 25 and 55 year old female bakers.
It will be a rare event, as only 14 seats are made available. And what is the cost? 1 percent is very $5,055 per person. Kanpai!
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