Renowned Karuizawa based artist David Stanley Hewett has partnered with luxury Japanese whisky retailer dekanta to create one of the most impressive vintage Karuizawa bottlings to date. The collection, named Acclaim – The Karuizawa Whisky Stage is due to go on sale next week for USD50, 000 with only 50 sets available.
The rarity of the liquid paired with the expert craftmanship, and luxury materials used to create this collection make it a true collectible. This latest Karuizawa collection by dekanta takes their bottling practice to new heights – combining fine art, whisky and expert Japanese craftsmanship.
Due to go on sale on Friday, 14th of April, the three-bottle set of separate expressions from 1999-2000 vintage Karuizawa (all 61% ABV, 70cl) is housed inside a Wajima Lacquerware cabinet. It features 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, honour and discipline.
Closed since the millennium, the old Karuizawa distillery has seen rising interest in its ultra-rare single malt whisky, which has now developed a cult-like following. 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.
With the view to advocating Japanese artistry at the forefront of creating Acclaim, Hewett spent a year travelling across Japan working 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.
An expert glassware maker in Japan was then commissioned to create bespoke bottles based on the traditional men’s Kimono with. He then applied his artwork to each bottle, before fitting them with handmade, lacquered stoppers that feature the Hewett family crest.
In terms of rarity and what it brings to the whisky market this private bottling from dekantā certainly ranks as one of the most coveted this year. Acclaim- The Karuizawa Whisky Stage is a limited edition of only 150 bottles, comprising 50 sets of three bottles each, available exclusively online.