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Playing with a full deck

Experience the entire Ichiro’s Malt Card Series
Our man in Japan and resident Japanese whisky expert Stefan Van Eycken, is leading a tasting of what is only the second time the complete “full deck” series of unopened Ichiro’s Malt Card collection from the Hanyu distillery in Japan have been brought together; let alone opened.

Rarity does however come at a price, and exclusivity. The tasting event, hosted by Swedish whisky enthusiast Pye Palm, and led by Van Eycken, is limited to just 48 seats, costing $21,000.

So what can you expect for your money; well… the last time a complete collection of the came onto the market it was sold at a Sotheby’s auction for $455,000 in September 2017.

“The estimated value of the full deck series today would be around $775,000. I could sell it, of course, but I think sharing the experience with other whisky enthusiasts is much more fun,” said Palm, who has collected his series during several trips to Japan over the last 30 years.
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. The bottles are signed by Ichiro Akuto, the distillery founder’s grandson, who saved 400 casks when the distillery shut down in 2000 and started the bottling of his playing card collection.

The exclusive tasting seminar event will take place on 1-3 November at Upper House hotel in Gothenburg, Sweden.
“The Ichiro's Malt Card Series is one of the most iconic series in the world of whisky. 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,” said Van Eycken, who is leading the tasting seminar in November.

The event will be held at the five-star Upper House hotel. It includes a dinner at the Michelin awarded Upper House Dining, a rooftop restaurant on the 25th floor overlooking the city of Gothenburg.

As an additional treat, a limited edition special malt will be released to commemorate the occasion. All guests participating in the tasting seminar in Gothenburg will become honourable members of the Monochrome Joker Club.

The club, founded by Palm, is an extension of the whisky tasting seminar, and is exclusive to the select few worldwide who have tasted all 54 casks of Ichiro’s Malt Card Series.

“I thought it would be fun to create a space for like-minded, passionate enthusiasts with a true dedication for the flavours of whisky. The idea is to invite members to a number of worldwide tastings of different Hanyu whiskies,” added Palm.

A three minutes summary of the event is here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=n29VrM5M6lA