dekantā’s Latest Karuizawa Bottling Reaches New Height of Acclaim

Published : Tuesday, April 11, 2023, 6:27 pm
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Luxury Japanese whisky retailer dekantā is taking its private bottlings to new levels with its latest collection of rare Karuizawa single malt - at the intersection of fine art and whisky.

Award winning independent bottler dekantā has partnered with prominent Karuizawa based artist David Stanley Hewett, and a number of expert craftspeople from across Japan, to create its most recent collection of exceedingly rare Karuizawa single malt called Acclaim - The Karuizawa Whisky Stage.

Due to go on sale this Friday, the three bottle set of different expressions from 1999-2000 vintage Karuizawa (US$50,000; all 61% ABV; 70cl) is housed inside a Wajima Lacquerware cabinet featuring 24 carat gold leaf layering, and world class bottle art, hand painted by David Hewett. Embodying themes concurrent throughout Hewett’s previous works, this collection celebrates the code of the Samurai and Japan’s martial history by depicting courage, honor and discipline.

Closed since the millennium, the old Karuizawa distillery has seen rising interest in its single malt whisky since it has become increasingly scarce, developing a cult-like following and renowned legacy. With a studio and gallery mere miles from the original distillery, Hewett has been living in Japan for 30 years and has trained under Japanese master potters, screen makers and painters. Most well known for his use of gold leaf, Hewett has painted the ceilings of ancient Shinto Shrines and completed works for the US 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 to the visiting First Lady of the US - the painting is now housed in the US National Archives in Washington.

Artist and designer of Acclaim David Hewett said: “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 long process required minute attention to detail and partnerships with many craftspeople. 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.”

With the view to advocating Japanese artistry at the forefront of creating Acclaim, Hewett spent a year travelling 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 over 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: “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 me and my 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.”

Acclaim- The Karuizawa Whisky Stage is a limited edition of only 150 bottles, comprising 50 sets of three bottles each, available only at dekantā.com. Bottles will go on sale on Friday 14 April 2023 at 11pm JST [2pm UTC] and will begin shipping immediately.

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