This Japanese Whisky Series Just Set A New World Auction Record
Sweeping a combined total of HK$11,890,360 at the Bonhams Fine & Rare Wine and Whisky sale in Hong Kong, the Hanyu Ichiro "Full Card Series" set a new world record for a whisky series. Comprising of 54 bottles, the legendary set was previously a two-time world-record setter for the most expensive series of Japanese whisky at auction in 2015, in 2019 and finally setting a new record in 2020. The pre-sale estimates of HK$6,380,000 far exceeded the combined total sales.
The whisky traces back its roots from the Hanyu Distillery, founded in 1941 by Isouji Akuto, a 19th generation descendant of a long line of sake brewers who produce Scotch-style malt whisky. While the distillery closed down in 2000 with plans to make a comeback online next year, Ichiro Akuto, grandson of Isouji, secured 400 premium whisky casks left at the distillery. Much like his grandfather, Ichiro is an avid whisky lover and personally selected the prized amber liquid to be bottled for each "card" released between 2005 and 2014 to ensure that the Hanyu legacy lives on.
The collection offered was from Club Qing, a whisky bar in Hong Kong specialising in Japanese whisky and rare old Scotch whisky. The bar was founded by Aaron Chan in 2015 and the whisky series has been an important centrepiece. Chan himself formed his collection over a decade prior to the bar's opening, sourcing each of the 54 bottles in the series globally which includes many rare first-editions before it became available in the auction market.
"Today, Japanese whisky set a new market high point. We are thrilled to establish yet another world auction record with the Hanyu ‘Full Card Series." The bidding for the 54 lots was spirited and global, with strong participation from young collectors under 40 years old. This fully demonstrates the universal appeal of whisky, and the deep market appetite for what is now ready to be one of the most collectable categories for the next generation," said Daniel Lam, Bonhams' director of wine & spirits, Asia.