A rare 54-bottle set of Hanyu Ichiro's Card Series whisky is expected to fetch up to US $300,000 when it goes under the hammer at Bonhams. The auction features 400 lots of rare Japanese and Scotch whiskies.
In a hot market for iconic single-male whiskeys, the Card series has become a top collectable for both connoisseurs and investors. Each bottle is named after a different playing card in a standard deck of 52 playing cards and two Jokers, and completing the series is a top goal for collectors.
Bloomberg reports that whiskey hunters are scouring the globe for rare malts, and the news agency describes the prices as dizzying. Sotheby's sold a 6-litre Lalique decanter of Macallan "M" single malt in Jan 2014 for a record HK $4.9 million (US $0.63 million). The Ichiro family ceased making malts in 2004 but held onto the casks of aging whisky for bottling with the distinctive playing-card labels.
Whisky is made from a mash of fermented grain, yeast and water that is distilled and then aged in oak casks. A single-malt is produced from malted barley at one distillery. Bloomberg attributes the dizzying prices to the inability of distillers to react to the increase in demand fast enough because whisky takes so long to age. The 1962 Macallan featured in James Bond's Skyfall was aged for 50 years.
Date written/update: 2015-07-24