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Karuizawa whisky set goes on sale for $50,000

Japanese spirits retailer Dekantā has released 50 sets of a three-bottle Karuizawa whisky collection for US$50,000.

Karuizawa Acclaim set
David Stanley Hewett and other artists in Japan were behind the design of the new Karuizawa set

Dekantā partnered with Japan-based artist David Stanley Hewett, alongside other Japanese artists, to create its new collection, called Acclaim – The Karuizawa Whisky Stage.

The three-bottle set includes different expressions of 1999 and 2000 vintage Karuizawa whiskies. The Karuizawa distillery closed in 2000 and has seen bottles of its single malt whisky fetch high prices.

Each 700ml expression is bottled at 61% ABV.

The liquid is housed in a Wajima Lacquerware cabinet featuring 24-carat gold leaf layering, and a design hand painted by Hewett.

Taking inspiration from Hewett’s previous works, this collection celebrates the code of the Samurai and Japan’s martial history by depicting courage, honour and discipline.

Hewett is known for his use of gold leaf and has painted the ceilings of ancient Shinto Shrines and completed works for the US embassy in Tokyo, The Ritz-Carlton and the Okura hotel.

Hewett, who is based in the town of Karuizawa, 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.”

The whisky collection’s ‘stage’ was designed by Hewett and the lacquer was applied by Taya Lacquer Studio in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, over the course of eight months.

Hewett commissioned an expert glassware maker in Japan to create bottles based on the traditional men’s kimono with soldier-like shoulders. The bottles come with handmade, lacquered stoppers that feature the Hewett family crest.

Acclaim – The Karuizawa Whisky Stage is limited to 150 bottles (50 sets of three bottles), which will go on sale today (14 April) at 11pm JST (2pm UTC) via

In December 2022, Dekantā revealed its partnership with the Karuizawa Whisky Company, which recently opened its new whisky distillery in the heart of its namesake town.

In February, SB spoke to the founder of the Karuizawa Whisky Company on his plans to recreate the iconic Japanese brand.

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