The Ichiro’s Malt Card Series is one of the rarest, most sought after collections in world whisky. Inspired by a deck of playing cards, it is made up of 54 different expressions, with each and every card represented, including the Jokers.
Independent bottler, Ichiro’s Malt, was setup by Ichiro Akuto after the family business, founded by his grandfather and managed by his father, ran into financial difficulties and was forced to close down. Ichiro took charge of the remaining liquid from the company’s legendary Hanyu distillery and began bottling and releasing it in 2006, with the first release being the King of Diamonds.
This first expression was immediately recognised for its quality, picking up a Gold Medal in the Japanese Whisky category in The Whisky Magazine. Over the next eight years, Ichiro’s Malt would release the other 53 expressions culminating in the Joker bottle in 2014. Each and every one of the bottlings was simply fantastic and owning the entire collection became the stuff of dreams.
In 2015, a Full Card Series was sold at Bonhams Hong Kong, setting the record for the most valuable Japanese whisky collection ever to go at auction, fetching a massive $3,797,500 (US$0.49m). Now, another full set is about to go on sale (August 16th) and it’s expected to smash the record once again.
Daniel Lam, Bonhams’ Director of Wine & Spirits, stated, “Four years since the Hanyu Ichiro’s Full Card Series set the world auction record at Bonhams, the current market demand is at its strongest for Japanese Whisky.”
“It is believed that no more than four sets of Full Card Series exist in the world. Over the years, moreover, many bottles have either been consumed or strictly kept in private, making it harder than ever to assemble a complete – and with such trusted provenance – series.”
It is expected that this set could be sold for around HK$6m (US$0.8m), which would break the record by a considerable distance and, with no other full set in site, it could hold said record for some time.
All eyes will be on tomorrows auction where a number of other intriguing whiskies are also set to feature. They include more than 30 bottles from Chichibu, Ichiro Akuto’s distillery set up in 2004, as well as a 72 Year Old Macallan and 50 Year Old Highland Park.
It’s set to be another interesting day at Bonhams as the auction house once again leads the way with old, rare and collectable whisky.