A 54-bottle set of Ichiro’s Full Card Series Whisky from closed Japanese distillery Hanyu is to be auctioned by Bonhams in Hong Kong in August. All 54 bottles are single cask whiskies that were distilled at Hanyu between the years 1985 and 2000. Each whisky has a different label featuring a playing card to complete a full deck (with jokers). The distillery fell silent in 2000 adding to the exclusivity and value of a full set of the series.
Daniel Lam, Bonhams’ director of wine & spirits in Asia said: ‘It is believed that no more than four sets of Full Card Series exist in the world, (because) 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 said that the Bonhams august sale will also include over 30 bottles of Chichibu – distilled by Ichiro Akuto, the grandson of the founder of Hanyu who bottled the Hanyu Full Card Series. Other highlights include a two-bottle lot, with a value estimated at HK$23,000-28,000, consisting of a bottle of Chichibu Galaxy Express 999 bottled in 2017, and a bottle of 18-year-old Speyside Region Malt, that was also bottled under the Galaxy Express label.
It was four years ago that Bonhams set a world record for ‘The Most Valuable Japanese Whisky Collection Sold At Auction’ when one of these Full Card Series sold for a cool HK$3,797,500! But it is widely expected that this set will be sold for around HK$6m (US$800k). Additionally, Sotheby’s Hong Kong also sold a full lot of Hanyu Card Series for HK$3.5m in September 2017. It included the 54 original whiskies, plus an additional four extra ‘rebottles’.
Other than Japanese Whiskies, a Macallan Lalique Genesis 72 Year Old decanter (the distillery’s oldest bottling and only released last year (2018)) has an estimated pre-sale value of HK$800,000-1.2m; and a bottle of Highland Park 50 Year Old, also released in 2018, is expected to sell for up to HK$260,000 for the package that is set to also include a three-day trip for two people to Orkney.