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Dekantā’s Latest Karuizawa Japanese Whisky Bottling Reaches For ‘Acclaim’

Independent bottler dekantā recently partnered with artists and craftspeople across Japan to make its most recent collection of rare Karuizawa single malt, called Acclaim – The Karuizawa Whisky Stage.

A statement from the whisky bottler noted that the three-bottle set of different expressions from 1999-2000 vintage Karuizawa are now up for sale, with a retail price of $50,000.

Each whisky clocks in at 61% ABV, and each 70cl bottle is housed inside a Wajima Lacquerware cabinet featuring 24 carat gold leaf layering, and bottle art hand painted by David Hewett.

Karuizawa Acclaim
Independent bottler dekantā recently partnered with artists and craftspeople across Japan to make its most recent collection of rare Karuizawa single malt, called Acclaim – The Karuizawa Whisky Stage. (image via dekantā)

The packaging embodies themes found throughout Hewett’s works, this collection celebrating the code of the Samurai and Japan’s martial history by depicting courage, honor and discipline.

While the old Karuizawa distillery has been closed for nearly 25 years, there’s been an uptick in interest in its scarce, single malt whisky.

Hewett has a gallery just down the road from the original distillery and he’s been living in Japan for 30 years and has trained under Japanese master potters, screen makers and painters.

Known for his use of gold leaf, Hewett has painted the ceilings of ancient Shinto Shrines and completed works for the U.S. embassy in Tokyo, The Ritz Carlton, The Okura Hotel and many public and private collections around the world.

In 2018, Hewett’s painting Majime was given by the First Lady of Japan, Aike Abe, as a state gift from Japan to the United States. It’s now housed in the U.S. National Archives in Washington D.C.

In a prepared statement, Hewett said that dekantā has made huge efforts to engage Japanese artists for their projects.

“Their team really understands Japan and wants to support Japanese craftsmanship through their unique offerings. Every step of this 18-month process required minute attention to detail and partnerships with many craftspeople,” he added. “It has been a wonderful journey seeing those initial sketches turn into a work of art in the real world that I can touch and feel that is probably the most gratifying part of the process.”

In creating Acclaim, Hewett said he spent a year traveling the country to work with skilled craftspeople for the glassware and Wajima cabinet. The whisky collection’s “stage” was designed by Hewett in his Karuizawa studio and the lacquer was applied by Taya Lacquer Studio in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, over the course of eight months.

The Taya Studio dates back more than 200 years to 1818 when Taya Kihei began his craftsmanship of Wajimanuri. Hewett commissioned an expert glassware maker in Japan to create bespoke bottles based on the traditional men’s Kimono with strong soldier-like shoulders. He then applied his artwork to each bottle, before fitting them with handmade, lacquered stoppers that feature the Hewett family crest.

Founder and director of dekantā, Makiyo Masa, said that working with an artist who has dedicated decades of his life to celebrating Japan’s culture and history through his work has been an honor for him and his team.

“The Acclaim Whisky Stage truly is the perfect meeting of luxury Japanese whisky and fine art, making it an incredible collectible piece. I am delighted we have been able to work with David Hewett to bring such a special whisky collection to our clients,” Masa said.

Acclaim – The Karuizawa Whisky Stage is limited to only 150 bottles, making up 50 sets of three bottles each, available exclusively at dekantā.com.

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Gary Carter

Gary Carter has been at the helm of metro newspapers, magazines, and television news programs as well as a radio host and marketing manager. He is a writer/editor/photographer/designer by trade, with more than 30 years experience in the publishing and marketing field. Gary enjoys working to build something great, whether that be a novel project, a start-up, an organization, a fresh-face to the journalistic world, or even something as simple as a short story. A native Texan and a Pacific Northwest convert, he is a whiskey enthusiast who cut his teeth on it ... literally!

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