Like fine art from long gone masters, bottles of rare whisky are fetching insane dollar amounts these days. The most recent example came in April, when the world's largest collection of rare Japanese whisky went up for auction. Every bottle in the sale was produced\u00a0by\u00a0the legendary Karuizawa distillery, a company\u00a0of near mythic proportion. Scotland's Whisky Auctioneer played middle man\u00a0and the event\u00a0was a big one to say the least. Indeed, early estimates predicted a grand tally\u00a0in the 600K ballpark. That ended up being what someone dropped for one bottle alone. The actual grand\u00a0tally? Just under a cool million. Yeah--rare whisky is definitely popular right now.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nOperational from 1955 to 2001, Karuizawa remains one of Japan's most heralded brands and the stuff of legend. The distillery was located at the base of an active volcano known as Mount Asama. Some reports suggest that the threat of being buried in hot lava was a driving factor behind the decision to shut it all down. Whatever the reasons for closing,\u00a0Karuizawa left behind a small treasure trove of exceptionally fine whisky. Each\u00a0batch used imported\u00a0Golden Promise barley from Scotland for the mashbill. The whisky was distilled in four small stills and then aged in Sherry casks before bottling. Between the presumably amazing flavours, bold colours, eye-catching label designs and extreme\u00a0scarcity,\u00a0Karuizawa whisky has earned a very strong following over the years with high dollar bids to show for it. However,\u00a0even with previous\u00a0auctions in mind, no one was quite prepared for April's turnout.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThe recent sale\u00a0put 290 bottles of Karuizawa\u00a0single cask whisky on the auction block. 230 of those bottles came from one European collector\u00a0and allegedly took him ten years to accumulate.\u00a0By the time the last bid was placed, the\u00a0auction had drawn over 5000 bids from\u00a089 buyers in\u00a019 different countries. Among the standout expressions\u00a0was a bottle of 52 Year Old\u00a0Karuizawa 1960, aka 'The Dragon', which is limited to 41 bottles worldwide. That one fetched a mind-blowing (and record breaking) bid of about $610,000 USD.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nIf nothing else, the auction was a testament to the power of rare whisky and Japanese whisky in particular. It goes without saying\u00a0there are a ton of Japanese expressions simply knocking it out the park right now. Thankfully, at least a few of them are available at the nearest whisky bar.\r\n\r\nAs to whether the lucky auction winners will crack open their bottles, we're thinking most of them will leave those babies sealed. After all, who would want to drop all that cash on whisky just to see what it tastes like? Oh, wait a second. We would!\r\nCheck it out\r\n\r\n\r\nHave you subscribed to Man of Many? You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.