Ichiro’s Malt the Joker – In the Flesh!


Well in the flesh at Casa Dramtastic. Most readers would have seen some release images of these. I’ll go out on a limb and say this is the first time both of these have been shown to the general public by someone who now owns them. No need to go into any of the particulars of these bottling’s as you can read about that over at Whiskies R Us. My thoughts are around what it’s like to finally have these babies in my grateful hands.
First thing, is that I had my order in for over a year. Of course I didn’t now when the release would be but I knew I had to be ahead of the game to even have a chance. Nothing is set in stone either, some retailers will/have received an allocation, many won’t. I was lucky enough to be in contact with someone who did and who generously kept me in mind for one of each label. For me this is going to be hard to beat for Japanese whisky release of the year for a number of reasons. It is, as far as I know, the end of the Ichiro’s card series. No more cards or derivatives of playing card games up Akuto-sans sleeve so to speak. Also, the black and white labeled bottling of the Joker is now officially the oldest Hanyu released to date and the fact that it was finished in a Mizunara oak cask at that. No doubt a deliberate choice for a whisky of such significance. Finally, the colour label version of the Joker would seem to be the most ambitious vatting of different cask types of Hanyu yet.
In the photo, the whisky in the B&W Joker looks darker. This is not a trick of the light or angle of the photo, it is darker than the colour Joker. Could be because the colour Joker has some younger whisky in the mix, could be it’s a vatting of different cask types, could be a combination of both or none of the above. They both sure look tasty!
Now for the problem. The colour Joker I purchased for Y12777. In under a week these were already selling in Japan on the resale market for 5 times that price. I have not seen a bottle of the B&W Joker being resold yet, but heaven only knows what they will fetch when they do. That then put these in the, I can only dream of owning one these category for most whisky fans. Supply and demand can be a real bitch sometimes!
So, what am I going to do with mine? Stare at them un-opened for a while for a starters. The B&W will then be put away with the rest of my closed bottles. It’s such a wonderful piece of history that it will be a long time before it is opened. The colour label Joker, I guess I’ll crack that on a whim someday…….

12 thoughts on “Ichiro’s Malt the Joker – In the Flesh!

    • Hi Aaron, I guess if I was an enthusiast like yourself and I’d didn’t get them I would be too. However, you have been able to get stuff that I haven’t been able to as well! : ) I really do wish I had enough of these to share with everyone!

  1. Great stuff,Brian!
    It shows how far ahead you have to plan for some bottlings.
    Not that long ago it would have been possible to buy as many cards as you wanted – sadly those days are long gone.
    I understand most of the old Mars casks are gone too – we need to stock up while we still can.
    At least I was able to pick up a couple of the Suntory Southern Alps Pure Malt recently. And very nice it is too!
    That will have to do!

    • Hi Alan,
      They were definitely the bottling’s in the last 12 months I was most keen to secure if possible.
      I really didn’t think thing’s could getter any sillier as far as pricing and accessibility goes, but yes they have.
      I will be trying to secure whatever old Mars bottling’s I can. At least they are distilling again, so there will be Mars whisky for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, once all the Hanyu casks are gone they will be as per the Dodo so to speak.
      The Southern Alps is a fine whisky and a rare fine. Glad you managed to get 2.

  2. Hi Brian, yes they do look rather lovely. Both financial constraints and an unreliable contact in Japan means these just passed me by. Never mind, on to the next.

    Looking forward to your notes Brian.

    Hey, i sent you an eMail.

  3. Hi Brian,
    Great write up above about the Black and White Monogram, I happen to have a bottle of it stocked away was hoping to reach out to you and find out more about it. I am happy to move this bottle forward to a new collector infact

    Would be great to hear back from you

    • Not sure what else I can add Sam. I sold mine over a year ago as they became too expensive to open. For values check out the history on various auction sites in the UK/Europe/Hong Kong. You can also sell through these auction sites.

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