Since the founding of dekanta in 2015, we have been delighted to watch our business grow as we ship bottles of top quality whisky to thirsty customers around the world. It has been a pleasure to be at the forefront of the Japanese whisky industry throughout much of its boom and we hope that we can continue getting you the bottles that you want for many years to come.
Throughout the years, we have released a number of independent bottlings, as well as exclusives, most commonly to celebrate our anniversary in June. These range from unique whiskies from new, up and coming distilleries, to expressions hailing from producers with a long, entrenched history and, of course, super old & rare releases like our Karuizawa Budō Collection.
In fact, our 2020 anniversary bottling, the Asaka Aoi Edition, earned us the title Japanese Independent Bottler of the Year at the Independent Bottlers Challenge 2020.
Today, we’re highlighting each of these fine whiskies to kick off our Anniversary week, and if you stick with us until the end of the article, there might even be a teaser for an exciting, upcoming release.
Without further ado, let’s get into them.
Our very first independent bottling, The Kikou, hailed from the Akashi White Oak distillery in Eigashima. It was a single cask whisky that was distilled in 2011 and matured for 6 years in a cask sourced from Scotland’s silent, legendary Port Ellen Distillery. The cask brought lightly smoky tones to the elegant, fruity spirit and the aromas and flavours mingled together perfectly.
This all came packaged in a stunning, hand-crafted presentation stand, while the label featured a chrysanthemum – a flower local to Akashi City park which hosts the Akashi White Oak distillery.
Only 300 bottles of this groundbreaking expression were produced and they were lapped up by fans and critics alike, all around the world. The Kikou kicked off our range of independent bottlings in style.
The Kigai followed on from the Kikou as our second bottling in the Ki Series. It too was distilled at the Akashi White Oak distillery and has spent time maturing in a cask freshly emptied of Scotch whisky from the closed Port Ellen distillery, before being finished in a cask of Japanese Mizunara oak. The results were an intensely fruity and spicy whisky that tastes and looks the part. It came packaged in a design inspired by the legendary Shogun, Japan’s feudal warlords who held ultimate rule of Japan’s territories. The hand-crafted stand represents the famous Shogun helmet, while the artwork on the bottle shows the feared warrior in all his glory.
Only 352 bottles of this one were produced and much like the Kigai before it, it was met with acclaim from whisky-lovers around the world.
When we had the idea to launch dekanta Oriental, in order to showcase the finest whisky expressions from around Asia, we knew we needed a special whisky to capture the attention of the whisky community. When we had the opportunity to work with Taiwan’s popular Kavalan distillery, we jumped at the chance.
The Kavalan One was a Solist Vinho Barrique expression, not dissimilar to the bottling that won World’s Best Single Malt at the World Whiskies Awards. It was matured in a top quality single cask that brought elegant, floral and fruity notes to the table, allowing drinkers to explore a plethora of aromas and flavours before going back for another dram.
It was created by Master Distiller and Blender Ian Chang, who is widely regarded as a legend in the making, and it delivers one of the most well-balanced but complex tasting experiences we have ever come across.
With only 195 bottles released, this one sold out in record time.
The Kavalan ‘Two’ Peaty Cask was a unique limited edition, single cask whisky from the famous Solist range. In fact, this was one of the first peated cask expressions in the entire Solist range, adding to its intrigue.
The liquid was distilled at Taiwan’s Kavalan distillery before being laid to mature in a cask that had previously held peated whisky from the Scottish island of Islay. The results were an intensely fruity, lightly peated expression that brought a plethora of notes to explore on the nose, palate and finish.
It came packaged in a bottle designed in typical Kavalan fashion – elegant, simplistic and beautiful – making it stand out in any collection.
Much like the ‘One’ before it, this was a huge hit with whisky fans around the world and yet another bottling that we are immensely proud of.
Just 116 bottles of this beauty were released.
The Kavalan Solist Rum Cask was our third release from the superb Taiwanese distillery and it broke new ground as the first single cask Kavalan whisky to be matured in a rum cask. The distillery’s master-craftsman worked diligently to ensure the whisky for this one spent exactly the right amount of time in the cask, resulting in a truly astounding, mouth-watering array of smells and flavours for you to explore, from sweet vanilla to sticky toffee, dried oak and a range of fruity notes.
It was an exquisite release, limited to just 152 cask strength bottles and we still have a few remaining in stock today should you want to try this iconic, special Taiwanese whisky.
The Asaka distillery had only released one single malt, The Asaka The First, when we bottled the Aoi for our anniversary in 2020, making this only the second single malt and the first single cask whisky from this new, up and coming distillery. Distilled in 2017, this whisky was then matured in a first-fill bourbon cask for 3 years before being bottled in July 2020. It brought an astounding array of notes to the table, allowing us to peek behind the curtain of the Asaka distillery and experience first hand the passion, knowledge and expertise of those working there.
It brings bursts of citrus fruits, freshly sliced apples, gentle oak and hints of pear drops, layered upon salted caramel, vanilla ice cream and gentle pepper spice, it had plenty to delve into and left many whisky drinkers very happy indeed.
In fact, this fine expression saw us win Japanese Independent Bottler of the Year at the 2020 Independent Bottlers Challenge – an achievement we are incredibly proud of.
From an outstanding release from one of Japan’s fastest rising distilleries, to an incredibly old & rare release from one of the country’s most legendary producers. The Karuizawa Budō Collection is perhaps the most challenging, but impressive, bottling we have put together to date.When we got our hands on a cask of precious liquid from the now silent Karuizawa distillery, we knew we had to create a truly special design to match. To do this, we worked with three of Japan’s most famous street artists to produce a set of three bottles that was unlike anything the whisky world had seen before.
The theme for the bottling was “Budō” – a Japanese term used to describe martial arts that translates to ‘The Martial Way’. – and we allowed each artist to pick their favourite form of Budō, before creating gorgeous pieces of art to go onto the bottles. They chose Sumo, Karate and Kendo.
Each bottle in the collection was then hand-painted, before being filled with the precious liquid and having unique, cloth bottle tops, each representing one of the chosen sports, tied around the top.
This all came together in a meticulously designed, hand-crafted wooden stand that took influence from traditional outdoor Sumo Dohyo and traditional Japanese roof structures, but with a modern twist.
Modern Dohyos feature a hanging Tsuriyane (the suspended roof that resembles a Shinto shrine) suspended from the ceiling to avoid obscuring the view of the audience. The transparent legs of our stand were a subtle nod to the modern Sumo Dohyo.
The stand housed all three bottles side-by-side, as well as four elegant booklets, 3 of which detail the individual pieces of art, and one which outlines the concept of the collection as a whole.
It was a carefully designed, elegant and hugely collectable three bottle set that is unlike anything we have seen before or are likely to see again, and all 43 sets sold out in record time.
What Next For dekanta?
So, with all of that said, you must be wondering what we have in store for you this year, and we’re delighted to tell you that it is something very exciting indeed.
For our 6th anniversary we have created a bottling that embodies the history of Japanese whisky, its roots and the partnerships that helped to get it to where it is today.
Unlike the Budō Collection, this new expression will come in at a much more affordable price point and is meant for sharing with family, friends and fellow whisky-lovers. This is a whisky that should be drunk, not collected.
Unfortunately, that’s all the info I can share for just now, but keep your eyes peeled or sign up for alerts below to be the first to find out when our latest bottling goes on sale.