Hanyu Distillery was founded in 1946 in the town for which it was named, by the grandfather of Ichiro Akuto. The distillery was an addition to the family's sake brewing business which had been active since the 17th century. In 1980, the distillery began serious attempts at production of single malt with the installation of two Scottish pot stills. In 1990, the first Chichibu whisky was launched, named after the location of the original Sake brewery.
Sadly, due to the crashing whisky market production at Hanyu distillery was short-lived, and the distillery was closed down in 2000 (just a few years before the world-wide whisky boom). In 2004, the distillery was demolished with all of the stills dismantled.
The malt whisky stocks of Hanyu, rejected by the new owners, were rescued by the founders grandson, Ichiro Akuto with the help of Sasanokawa Shuzo. This was the start of a new chapter in the history of the now closed distillery, which would see the Hanyu Card Series become one of the most sought-after malt whisky collections amongst whisky aficionados around the world. Whilst continuing to bottle and sell the precious remaining stocks of Hanyu, Ichiro Akuto set out on his mission to build his own distillery and in March 2008, Chichibu Distillery began producing their own single malt.
Ichiro's Malt Card Series has become one of the most sought after whisky collections worldwide due to their exceptional rarity. We are honoured to provide our customers with the opportunity to bring home some of these incredibly unique and rare bottles in our monthly whisky auctions.
Following the closure of Hanyu Distillery, Ichiro Akuto, an heir to the original founder, thankfully rescued the remainder of their aging stocks. In 2005, Ichiro created the Ichiro's Malt Card Series, a collection of bottlings from Hanyu's old stocks. Ichiro's Malt Card Series is a collection of single cask releases, all of which feature a distinguished label depicting a unique playing card motif.
The full collection boasts 58 in total - four more than your standard playing card deck. This is because four of the single casks were bottled at small quantity in 2005, however, overwhelmed by the reception they received, Ichiro issued a second bottling of the remainder of these casks (this second bottling was matured for one year longer than the first). Therefore, there are double bottlings of the following cards: Ace of Spades, the Queen of Hearts, the King of Diamonds and the Jack of Clubs. With only 120 produced of each card in 2005, they make an incredibly treasured addition to any collection.