Bonhams has set a new world record with the sale of full card series of Japanese cult whisky brand Hanyu Ichiro for the hefty price of HK$7,192,000 (US$ 917,000), nearly doubling the previous record of HK$3,797,500 (US$484,000) – also set by Bonhams Hong Kong in 2015.
The full card series was bought by an un-named female collector last Saturday at the auction house’s Fine & Rare Wine and Whisky Sale in Hong Kong.
The lot on offer is believed to be one of the four full sets left in the world, according to Bonhams’ director of Wine & Spirits in Asia, Daniel Lam.
The record price will likely bolster collectors’ and investors’ interest for rare Japanese whisky.
In November, Sweden is also expected to host possibly the world’s most expensive whisky tasting featuring a full set of Japanese Hanyu Ichiro card series. Per ticket price was set at US$21,000.
The celebrated collection comprises 54 bottles representing each of the playing card in a full pack. Each ‘card’ was bottled from a single cask of premium whisky ranging in production years from 1985 to 2014 from the acclaimed closed distillery of Hanyu.
Founded in 1941 by Isouji Akuto, a 19th generation descendant of a long line of sake brewers to produce Scotch-style malt whisky, the Hanyu distillery ceased production in 2000.
But not before Ichiro Akuto, grandson of Isouji, stepped in to secure the 400 premium whisky casks left from the distillery. An avid whisky lover like his grandfather, Ichiro personally selected the prized amber liquid to be bottled for each ‘card’ released between 2005 and 2014, ensuring that the Hanyu legend lives on.
In 2015, Bonhams was the first auction house to sell the 54-bottle Full Card series, which set the world record for the most expensive Japanese whisky collection at HK$3,797,500.
In 2017, Sotheby’s Hong Kong offered a 58-bottle Full Card series, a different edition compared with the 54-bottle version. It fetched HK$3.5 million but failed to break Bonhams’ record.