Here's A Very Pricey Chance To Taste All The Ichiro’s Card Whiskies - The Whiskey Wash

Here’s A Very Pricey Chance To Taste All The Ichiro’s Card Whiskies

By Nino Marchetti / August 2, 2019

One pinnacle of collecting Japanese whisky for those with the resources to do so is ownership of a complete set of Ichiro’s Card Series. One such collection of these highly coveted 52 bottles is currently set for auction later this month through Bonhams, where it could fetch over $750,00 by the time the gavel falls. Those with not quite that much money available, but which still want to experience a bit of the exclusivity tasting these whiskies offers, have such an option upcoming in Sweden come the beginning of November.

A planned tasting seminar of all the bottles in a complete Ichiro’s Malt Card collection is set to be held November 1-3 at the at the Upper House hotel in Sweden. It includes a dinner at the Michelin awarded Upper House Dining, a rooftop restaurant on the 25th floor overlooking the city of Gothenburg. Said seminar will be divided into four tastings, or so called flights. Each will include 13 to 14 bottles with a 1 cl tasting of each. Each bottle has its own original card label and its own unique flavor.

The man behind this experience is one Pye Palm, a Swedish whisky enthusiast, who is said to have collected his series during several trips to Japan over the last 30 years. The bottles are signed by Ichiro Akuto, the Hanyu distillery founder’s grandson, who saved 400 casks when the distillery shut down in 2000 and started the bottling of his playing card collection. Just like a full deck of playing cards, the collection features 52 single cask editions that each represent a card in a poker deck, plus two additional jokers.

Some of the whiskies from the Ichiro’s Malt Card Series (image via Revolve Concept)

“The estimated value of the full deck series today would be around $775,000,” said Palm in a prepared statement. “I could sell it, of course, but I think sharing the experience with other whisky enthusiasts is much more fun.”

“The Ichiro’s Malt Card Series is one of the most iconic series in the world of whisky,” added Belgian author and Japanese whisky expert Stefan Van Eycken, who is leading the tasting seminar. “This is only the second time a complete tasting of the series will be held, and the first time ever that all the bottles are opened specifically for one event.”

Now, given how much this series sells for either by the bottle or as a whole, one can expect the seminar will be a top dollar experience. The cost? Around $21,000 for one of the 48 seats available.

“Hanyu has a very particular character,” noted Van Eycken. “Referring to Ichiro himself, it’s unlike any other whisky you’ve tasted before. Prepare some shiny, fresh and ripe fruits, colourful root vegetables, both brown and white sugar, and some exotic spices. Then mix all this with sweet and sour fruit juice in a glass. That’s the best way I can describe it.”

Those that end up doing this event will also be made members of the new Monochrome Joker Club, which includes access to a number of worldwide tastings of different Hanyu whiskies as well as ownership of a limited edition special malt being released to commemorate the occasion.