April 10, 2023
TOKYO — Monday April 10 — 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 separate expressions from 1999-2000 vintage Karuizawa ($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 [3pm BST, 10am EST, 7am PST] and will begin shipping immediately.
Notes to Editors:
dekantā Founder Makiyo Masa and Whisky Operations Manager Liam Hiller are available for interview. Please RSVP to arrange, Iona Stevenson: email@example.com.
dekantā Press Room: https://dekanta.com/press/
High resolution press images available on request, with a selection viewable in this folder, and on the website here: https://dekanta.com/press-library/
dekantā offers the world’s largest online selection of authentic Japanese spirits with an inventory of over 2,000 products, and, since the opening of its online store in 2015, has shipped more than 20,000 bottles to customers around the world. A family owned and run business, dekantā’s founders have been selling collectibles since 1985 and specialize in rare, collectible, and new release single malt Japanese whisky. dekantā offers worldwide delivery on an extensive range of Japanese single malt whisky, Japanese grain whisky and Japanese blended whisky, in addition to a range of World Blended Whiskies. More recently, Japanese wine has been introduced through the dekantā Cellar, and spirits from wider Asia through dekantā Oriental.
Instagram – @dekantawhisky
More on the artist
David Stanley Hewett is one of the most well-known foreign artists in Japan. He became interested in Japan as a young man through his study of karate and ceramics in New York and later majored in Japanese history at the University of Massachusetts and Hokkaido University. Hewett first came to Japan in 1988 and has made it his home. His love for Japanese arts and culture motivated him to study the country’s ceramics, traditional painting, obi design and, most notably, the technique for making traditional screens. Hewett began practicing Karate when he was 14 and is the recipient of the Honor Graduate Medal from the United States Marines. Hewett’s experience as a Marine and his study of Japanese History at Hokkaido University inspired his famous series of paintings known as the ‘Bushido Series’. Hewett’s works can be seen in exhibitions around the world and at his Karuizawa Studio in Nagano, Japan.
About Karuizawa Distillery
Built by the Daikoku Budoshu Co. in 1956, at the foothill of Mount Asama, Karuizawa was a tiny distillery in an idyllic location. It operated for around 7 years before being purchased by the Mercian Corporation in 1962, but in this time consistent production never really got off the ground. The distillery produced a rich, powerful single malt whisky that was to be used in blends, mainly sold under the Ocean brand. The distillery used Golden Promise barley imported from Scotland and this was likely one of the reasons behind the spirit being likened to sherried Scotch by many. It wasn’t until 1972 that they managed to release their first single malt whisky, but sadly, the time taken to create such products, combined with a serious lack in demand for them, meant the business wasn’t sustainable. Since then global demand for Japanese whisky has soared and the demand for the remaining stock of Karuizawa distillery has increased dramatically, developing a legendary legacy and demanding impressive prices at auction.
For all press queries, photos, or to arrange an interview with the artist David Hewett, dekanta’s founder Makiyo Masa or Whisky Operations Manager Liam Hiller, please contact Iona Stevenson: firstname.lastname@example.org.