Hong Kong Hammer Time

1. March 2017 | 2.8K Views
Please note that this article is based on the old Whiskystats database.
Some numbers and figures may not match what you find in the Whiskystats 2.0 database.

Whiskystats reaches out for the secondary whisky market in Asia. We now track the auction results from Bonhams Hong Kong. This adds a lot of price information for very rare and collectable single malts to our database! 

Adding auction results from Hong Kong to our whisky database is great for many reasons. First of all it adds another geographical region to our scope, as we now cover Central Europe, the United Kingdom and Hong Kong. Then it is the whiskies which are traded in Hong Kong, where the focus clearly lies on the very collectable single malts. Hence we find comparable few price observations from Hong Kong (see below), but those prices correspond to bottles which haven’t been traded in the other markets for a long time, or actually never have been seen there.
In total we added 2.507 Hong Kong auction results to our whisky database. This is about the same as we get from one single auction from one of the other auction houses that we track. From these 2.507 prices, 2.085 belong to whiskies for which we have more than two price observations in total and hence are visible to all registered Whiskystats Members (become a member for free). Until now, the average price of the whiskies we track was at around 250 Euros. For this new set of prices we observe an average value of more than 2.800 Euros. Of course the overall price-level in Hong Kong is higher anyway, but this high average price is mainly due to the fact that mostly very collectable whiskies are traded at Bonhams Hong Kong.
Hong Kong´s Most Wanted
So the question arises what whiskies are traded at Bonhams Hong Kong. For the time being we focus on the distilleries that are mostly traded in far-east. To find out, we simply count the number of bottles from each distillery that were traded. As we see, this ranking is dominated by Karuizawa. Almost 800 bottles of this japanese distillery were traded in Hong Kong. With more than 500 trades the second place goes to secondary market champion Macallan. On the places follow Hanyu with the highly collectable Playing Card Series, collectors evergreen Port Ellen and Yamazaki and Bowmore.
Hong Kong Most Traded Distilleries If we restrict our attention to the two most traded distilleries of Karuizawa and Macallan, we can compare how the number of trades evolved from November 2012 to November 2016. The number of traded Karuizawa bottles significantly gone up at the end of 2014 and during the year of 2015. This is exactly the time period we already identified as the Japanese Whisky Boom.
Hong Kong Macallan and Karuizawa In the same period of time the number of traded Macallan bottles declined. Then, in 2016, we see a change in pattern. The number of traded Karuizawas declined while in the most recent auction of November 2016 Macallan reached a new peak at around 55 trades.
Record Breaking Prices
Until now, the highest price observation we had in our database was 25.571 Euros for the Karuizawa 18yo (1995) Ghost Series 2nd Edition. This price was achieved in January 2016. The latest price observation from January 2017 lies at 11.758 Euros.
It is probably of no surprise that some of the price observations from Bonhams Hong Kong easily top this. There is for example the Karuizawa 50yo (1960) Single Cask 3604 which was sold in January 2016 for messmerizing 58.793 Euros. But this is not the most expensive whisky we found. The Karuizawa 52yo (1960) Single Cask 5627 changed its owner for 110.237 Euros back in August 2015! Both this Karuizawas have another thing in common. They were traded only one time, and hence we do not display them in our whisky database.
But do not worry, there are other 50+ year-old single malts which do have more than two price observations. There is the Karuizawa 50yo 2011 Release which prices climbed from 29.396 Euros in May 2014 to 36.745 Euros in May 2015. Or there is the Macallan 52yo (1950) Fine Rare which was last traded in January 2016 for 24.987 Euros. For those of you looking for an even older vintage we also found a Glenfiddich 50yo (1937) which prices lie somewhere around 20.000 Euros. All of these whiskies were exclusively traded in Bonhams Hong Kong, i.e. we do not have price observations from the other auction houses we track.
Macallan 29yo (1976) Fine Rare The same holds for the Macallan 29yo (1976) Fine Rare which was traded six times in Hong Kong from November 2013 to November 2016. Thereby the prices climbed from around 5.500 Euros to 10.000 Euros.
Trendsetter Hong Kong
We have already figured out that the overall price level in Hong Kong is higher than in the other markets that we track. What also caught our attention was that it seems like the other markets slowly start to follow the Hong Kong prices. As an example we take a look at the Macallan 18yo (1979) Giovinetti & Figli Import. Until February 2011 it was quite regularly traded at (yellow dots) for less than 300 Euros. Then, in May 2011, one bottle was sold in Hong Kong for more than 1.000 Euros (red dot). After that, the prices at (brown dots) and started to rise till they reached the “Hong Kong price level” at more than 1.000 Euros in September 2016. The latest price observation from December 2016 even lies at 2.000 Euros.
Macallan 18yo (1979) Giovinetti & Figli As we already mentioned, this is not the only example. The Macallan 18yo (1976) also had a price level of around 300 Euros back in November 2011 where it was sold in Hong Kong for 1.142 Euros. It took the other markets more than four years to reach the same price level in May 2016 with a trade for 1.155 Euros. Other Macallans with the same pattern are the Macallan 18yo (1977) and the Macallan 18yo (1978).
But it’s not only Macallans. There is, for example, the Glenfarclas 48yo (1961) Casks 3052 and 3053. November 2011 saw 1.356 Euros paid for this whisky in Hong Kong. It was in May 2015 when the other markets reached the same price level and even went as high as 1.755 Euros.
Blending Markets
One might ask if the prices from Hong Kong even blend in with the observations we have from the other auction houses. The answer is yes, and sometimes no. Examples for bottles for which the Hong Kong prices perfectly match the other prices are the Macallan 25yo (1968) Anniversary Malt or the Bowmore 38yo (1957) Cask 216-220. And there is the Brora 2002 Release which price observations we display in the below graph.
Brora 2002 Release We see that the red dot in January 2016 (representing the Hong Kong price) is surrounded by prices from the other auction houses. Furthermore we even see higher prices from the other auction houses at about the same period in time. Then, on the other side, there is the Brora 2009 Release.
Brora 2009 Release Here we see that the Hong Kong prices (again the red dots) lie way above the other observations. Although the price level at the other auction houses did go up, they never reached the same level. Nevertheless, this again could be just another example of the above mentioned trendsetting Hong Kong auction market.
The Ardbeg 21yo (1979) Committee Reserve is apparently weighed with two different measures in Hong Kong and elsewhere. While the price was at 820 Euros in August 2016, only three months later more than double that price was paid in Hong Kong. In January 2017 another price came in. This time it was back at 845 Euros and sure did not come from Hong Kong.
All in all it is very exciting to have the Bonhams Hong Kong prices in our database. We will for sure spend some more time analyzing these new observations and comparing the different markets we now cover.