Full Deck

This Is the Most Valuable Japanese Whisky Collection in the World


August 17, 2019 Drinks By

The closing price for the rarest collection of Japanese whisky in the world? A cool $917,060.

In an auction that included 72-year-old Macallan, 50-year-old Highland Park and a commemorative 35-year-old Hibiki, Ichiro’s Malt Card Series 54-bottle set was the most talked-about of the lot.

There is no greater whiskey collecting feat than that of completing the deck (a unique bottle for every card). Produced between 1985 and 2000, the Card Series is the very last whisky from the legendary Hanyu Distillery, a whiskey-making operation with a cult-like following similar to Stitzel-Weller in American bourbon.

When Hanyu shuttered in 2000, Ichiro Akuto, grandson of Hanyu’s founder, saved 400 casks and bottled them up. Their value has skyrocketed since.

The last time a full set went to auction it sold for nearly $500,000 (this year’s is projected sale was $570,000 and $770,000). The Card Series has become so popular that whisky investing and collecting database RareWhisky101 created a value-tracking index for it. Street prices for individual bottles — if you can even track bottles down — range from $5,000 to $15,000.

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