Show me the Fact table and auction results. Click for Fact table and auction results
Table contains a compilation of all Scores, Distilling year, Bottling year, Total age, ABV%,
Number of bottles released, Bottling site and Release prices (Tokyo).

Show me the Score rules. Click for Score rules

How many complete collections may exist? Theoretically 122.
Practically much less as several of the original of Ace of Spade's 122 bottles have been consumed.
Besides all reported, tasted and scored version here (52), a complete collection should also include the
two Jokers and the four secondary releases listed below as well. Alltogether 58 versions.

Why two Jokers?
Initially only one Joker was planned for the Playing card series.
Traditionally European deck of cards contains two Jokers, a black and a red.
Perhaps my suggestion, referring to the European tradition, influenced Ichiro to extend the series.

Which versions have the lowest number of bottles issued? Ace of Spade, 122 bottles.
All others are between 210 and 3.690 bottles. See also multiple issues below.

Which version has the highest number of bottles issued? The Chrome Joker, 3.690 bottles.

Which versions has the highest score? Two of Heart (93 points).

Which versions has the lowest score? Three of Club (79 points).

What is the average score? 87 points.
Note; only one version is included in the sum where two occurs, the other score field is left blank in the table.

Which version had the highest relese price in Tokyo? The Monochrome Joker. 36.000 Yen.

Which versions had the lowest release price in Tokyo? Queen of Heart and Nine of Heart, both 4.600 Yen.

Which versions has the lowest ABV? Nine of Heart, Ten of Spade, both are 46%.

Which versions has the highest ABV? Three of Heart, 61,2%.

Which versions is the oldest agewise? The Monochrome Joker, 29 year.

Which versions is the youngest agewise? Nine of Heart, 6 year.

Which versions are the earliest distilled? Ace of of Heart, Queen of Diamond, Nine of Diamond, Ace of Spade, and the Monochrome Joker, all in 1985.

Which versions are the latest distilled? 18 versions, all in 2000. See Fact table further down.

Which versions are the earliest bottled? The original Queen of Heart, King of Diamond, Jack of Club, Ace of Spade, all in 2005.
All four were re-bottled from same casks in 2006. See multiple issues below.

Which versions are the latest bottled? The two Jokers. Bottled Spring 2014.

Which years did bottling occured? All years from 2005 to 2014, except 2013.

Which versions did not get bottled at 700ml? Nine of Heart, Ten of Spade, both are 720ml.

Which versions get bottled at 700ml as well as 720ml? Queen of Heart, King of Diamond, Jack of Club, Ace of Spade.

How many versions were bottled at the Sasanokawa Warehouses? 21 including the four secondary releases. Bottling occured from 2005 to and including 2007. From 2008 all bottling occured at Chichibu. See Fact table further down.

Which versions lack ABV% on front label? Queen of Diamond.

Which versions have different ABV% on front and and back label? Ace of Spade, secondary release. ABV% 55 on front and ABV% 55.7 on the back label.

Other label irregularities.
Back label consist of two parts, one English and one Japanese.
Some of the Eureopan label part lacks info regarding bottle size and ABV%.
Some of the Japanese label part have the ABV% truncated were there is an ABV% fraction, others have full value.
Original Ace of Spade lacks Card value on the back label, and so does the original King of Diamond.

The front label layout on the four secondary releases differ from the original Queen of Heart, King of Diamond, Jack of Club, Ace of Spade .

What type of cask, wood and volume was used for the First maturartion period?
The casks were all made of 100% American White Oak (Quercus Alba) and previously barrels used in the Bourbon whisky trade, one time only.
The type of casks used was, as stated, Hogsheads which is not a fixed size and often refitted (in Scotland) from smaller to larger size,
In Hanyu's case the volume varied between 230 and 250 liter.
The origin of the previous Bourbon content is not traceable as a Hogshead was refitted from two or more Bourbon barrels,
usually from different Bourbon distilleries.

How many months of the total maturation period, e.g. final age, is spent on the second maturation?
One to sixty-seven.

The question of multiple versions.
Following versions exists in a second release e.g. same cask number but different number of bottles per release.
Bottle sizes varies as well.
Queen of Heart, 1990-2005, 15 years old, 720ml, 125 bottles. Not scored. This is the original bottling.
Queen of Heart, 1990-2006, 16 years old, 700ml, 324 bottles. This is the secondary bottling.
Jack of Club, 1991-2005, 14 years old, 720ml, 124 bottles. Not scored. This is the original bottling.
Jack of Club, 1991-2006, 15 years old, 700ml, 330 bottles. This is the secondary bottling.
King of Diamond, 1988-2005, 17 years old, 720ml, 124 bottles. This is the original bottling.
King of Diamond, 1988-2006, 18 years old, 700ml, 555 bottles. Not scored. This is the secondary bottling.
Ace of Spade, 1985-2005, 20 years old, 720ml, 122 bottles. This is the original bottling.
Ace of Spade, 1985-2006, 21 years old, 700ml, 300 bottles. Not scored. This is the secondary bottling.
This version also have an ABV of 55.7% e.g 0.7 higher than the original bottling!!!

Stefan van Eycken, editor of the Nonjatta web page for Japanese whisky news and whisky history, compiled the following two stories titled:

'In the Shadow of Ichiro’s Card Series: The Secret Playing Cards.'
Show me Story 1.

'In the Shadow of Ichiro’s Card Series: Bar Lagg Time 7th Anniversary Bottling.'
Show me Story 2.

Brian of the Whiskosity web page for whisky news and whisky history, compiled the following story titled:
'The Fake Joker'; also in the shadow of Ichiro’s Card Series.
Show me Story 3.

The Bar K6/Kyoto's NON-related card labels (BEWARE!)
Story 4 follows.

A note regarding the special Playing Card labels used by Bar K6 in Kyoto.

This version is NOT related to the traditional Playing Card series.

It is not confirmed, at the time of witing, if the use of the Playing Cards motifs were authorized by the distillery.

The content, regardless of the different label versions, all stems from one single cask, the Hanyu Cask # 1702. Oddly, the cask number is listed as # 123 on some of the label versions.

The malt whisky was distilled by Hanyu in 2000 and bottled in 2014 by or on behalf of Bar K6. The ABV at the bottle occasion was 60%. Number of 700ml bottles yielded from the cask was 345 (approx 242 liters in total), divided upon 8 label versions.

The secondary maturation, beginning in 2009, was in a 500 liter oak cask (a botte) which previously had contained grappa from the Italian grappa maker Berta (
The cask for the secondary maturation was provided by Minoru Nishida of Bar K6. The origin of the initial cask is not known at the time of writing.

There seems to be eight different label versions for the same content. Four are showing a Blackjack hand with different but paired King and a Six colors plus the backside of three cards and carrying a cask number equal to 123. The other four versions shows only two cards, again with different but paired King and a Six colors, but lacking a cask number.

Further, this is the parent bottling to the Nonjatta 3rd Ghost Series release - same cask (number). Eigthy liters of the cask were used for the Ghost series 120 700ml bottles. Due to evaporation the ABV% for the Ghost series bottling decreased by some fraction. Perhaps there will be more to come from this cask.


When it comes to scoring whisky, we Maniacs use a 1-100 scale that's roughly comparable to the 50-100 (actually more like 55-95)
scale used by the writers Robert Parker and Michael Jackson. The main difference is that for us, 50 is not the bottom line.
Our scale is supposed to include all alcoholic drinks (beer, wine, sherry, port, cognac, wodka, rum, etc.) and 50 points is the border
between> liking a certain drink and not liking it.
The Malt Maniacs are credited for the following scoring chart:

01 - 09: Barely drinkable gagwater. Serving me this may result in physical violence.
10 - 19: Truly disgusting. Varying degrees of awfulness; highly avoidable.
20 - 29: Only suitable for intoxication purposes. Best used as Anti-freeze.
30 - 39: Definitely not enjoyable. Don't pour me another glass, please.
40 - 49: Flawed. I'll drink it, but don't expect me to be happy about it.
Above 50 points I'm slowly starting to warm up to things.
My scores on the 'positive' end of the scale mean something like;
51 - 54: All things considered I like it, but just barely. It's a thin line between love and hate.
55 - 59: I'm far from crazy about this, but I could find some redeeming qualities.
60 - 64: Quite drinkable, but I could find nothing in there to get very excited about.
65 - 69: An altogether satisfactory experience, but somehow it doesn't fulfil its potential.
70 - 74: An enjoyable drink, just a tad below average. Could do better.
75 - 79: A very enjoyable drink; above average but not exciting enough to be reccommendable.
80 - 84: Recommendable. Very nice indeed, thank you. Pour me another one, please.
85 - 89: Highly recommendable. Wonderful! Never a dull moment with one of these.
90 - 94: Everybody should try this at least once in their life. Great liquids of the world.
95 - 99: Exceptional. The sort of stuff where price starts to become almost irrelevant.
100 pts: True 'aqua vitae'. Once you havee found this legendary drink then you can rest easy.


Glassware; All tasting perfomed with Glencairn standard glass.
Water; All tasting performed with the whisky undiluted.
Venues; Venues were not consistent. A bouqette of homes, bars, whisky
clubs, structured tastings sessions, whisky festivals and off course the PC
series home site (Chichibu) are the scenes were the tastings took place.
The timespan for the tasting was the period Spring 2006 to Spring 2013.

Click for return to Score rule question.

FACT TABLE (Scroll for auction results).

Card codes = HE=Heart, DI=Diamond, CL=Club, SP=Spade.
Italic= This is the secondary release for this version, hence, not the origin.
D = Year of distillation.
B = Year of bottling/release
Ag = Total age e.g. including secondary maturation period.
Nmb = Number of bottles released.
B = Bottling plant S is Sasanokawa Warehouses anf V is Venture Ltd or Chichibu Warehouses.
Yen = Are the over-the-counter prices in Tokyo on or around release date (1 EUR =120.93 Yen, 1 USD = 91.89 USD Spring 2013).
SC = Score. For multiple release cases only one score figure is entered.



You may scroll back and forth on Bonhams homepage for their regular whisky auctions (Hongkong, Edinburgh and the US) to get the picture.

For the auction Aug 15, 2014, here are the results (cut and paste):
Browse through the lots to isolate the Card Series.
Note lot 147 'Ace of Spade' which went for GBP 7.290

At the auction Feb 6, 2015 the expected starting bids are around GBP 14.000-17.000
for the four Aces lumped together (cut and paste link).

o WHISKYAUCTION.COM (leading web site for whisky auctions)

Here you will find historic auction prices for the Card Series.

Cut and Paste following link
On the left hand column at segment 'History (All)' select 'World'
On the new page (Description field search) write 'Hanyu', then chose 'Select'
Scroll and you will find date and prices for all Card Series versions sold via this web site over the years.

Click for return to Fact table question.

Email your addition of 'dorky' facts.

Click for return.