Bonhams offer best Japanese whisky collection in auction history

Roland Courtney

Roland Courtney

2015-07-07 10:19:33

Bonhams has announced the upcoming sale of "one of the best Japanese whisky collections in auction history".

The auction in Hong Kong next month will include more than 400 lots of highly rare Japanese and Scotch whiskies, from renowned distilleries such as Karuizawa, Hanyu, Macallan, Balvenie and Glenfiddich.

The centrepiece of the sale will be a full set of Hanyu Ichiro’s Card Series, offered for the first time in auction history.

The Hanyu distillery has a long and fascinating history, dating back to 1626 and the sake production of the Akuto family in Chichibu. Centuries later in 1941, the 19th generation of the family set up a distillery in Hanyu which continued production until 2000. When the business closed down, Ichiro Akuto rescued 400 casks from the distillery in order to keep the Hanyu name alive and the best 54 single cask barrels were bottled and sold as the Ichiro 'Playing Card' series.

Just three collectors around the world are said to have acquired a complete, 54-bottle set of the Playing Card whiskies, and the collection for sale at Bonhams is expected to sell for HK$1,800,000 - HK$ 2,400,000 (US$232,000-$309,460).

Further highlights will include a bottle of Karuizawa 1960, one of just 41 bottles produced, estimated at HK$400,000-$500,000; a 4-bottle set of the Karuizawa Toulouse Lautrec series, estimated at HK$100,000-$140,000; and a bottle of the highly rated Karuizawa 1967, valued at HK$80,000-$110,000.

“In just a few years, whisky has become the choice of spirit for many buyers in the region – a development that we hadn’t anticipated," said Daniel Lam, wine and whisky specialist at Bonhams Hong Kong. "As the number of whisky collectors in the region increase, we believe that whiskies of tip-top quality, or those which have long ceased production, are in shortage."

"Under such circumstances, auction houses are reliable source for collectors to get their hands on precious drams at reasonable prices. I hope that whisky lovers and collectors wouldn’t miss the range of rare and precious whiskies on offer at our upcoming auction.”

The auction takes place in Hong Kong on August 28.

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