Sotheby's Hong Kong

The auction will be the first time all 58 bottles from Ichiro’s Card Series have been sold together.

By Emily Price
September 25, 2017

This month Sotheby’s in Hong Kong is auctioning off a rare collection of 58 whiskies from Ichiro’s Card Series. It will be the first time all 58 bottles from the series have been sold together, and they’re expected to fetch a (not so small) fortune: $500,000, to be exact.

The bottles were made by Hanyo, Japan’s smallest and now defunct distillery. The distillery stopped making whisky in 2000 when the Japanese recession hit. The new owner of the distillery wanted to focus on making spirits that were faster to make (whisky requires a lengthy aging process), and Ichiro Akuto purchased the remaining casks the distillery had on hand.

He’s bottled single malts from the casks over the years, naming each after a playing card. As Forbes notes, the spirits have developed quite a following.

In 2015, a full 54-card set was sold at auction for $480,000. That collection did not include the four original card bottles, which were released in 2005 before the bottles had developed such a following. Once the demand was realized the first four cards were re-released in 2006, by which point they’d matured one year longer than the original four, resulting in slightly different whiskies.

Only 120 bottles were made of the first four cards, i.e. they’re exceptionally rare.

The seller of the whisky wants to remain private, but he or she stand to make quite a killing off the sale. At half a million for the collection puts the value of each bottle at around $8,620.

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