Art and whisky are not so different after all. And in the world of spirits, presentation is nearly as important as the liquid inside — not in terms of consuming the whisky but the emotion that’s tied to it. When it comes to high-end and rare expressions, there’s a reason why many collectors will spend thousands of dollars (or more) on bottles that will never be opened. If you shelled out $50,000 on dekantā’s Acclaim Collection, you’d have to ask yourself if tasting what’s inside would be worth “tarnishing” the beautiful piece of art in the process.
With roots that span to the beginning of the 20th century, Japan’s whisky heritage is relatively young when compared to the likes of Scotland, Ireland, and even the United States. So on its route to becoming the renowned region it is today, many distilleries fell in the process. One such distillery is Karuizawa, which began making whisky blends in the 1950s before moving on to single malts, becoming a benchmark for the use of sherry wood. Ultimately, however, Karuizawa was unable to make any more liquor by 2000 and went “silent” before officially shutting down in 2011. At auction today, whisky from the distillery has sold for tens of thousands of dollars. Japanese spirits retailer dekantā has now gone above and beyond on its latest project to revive a batch of liquid from Karuizawa, teaming up with famous artist David Stanley Hewett on both the bottles and the presentation case.
Displayed inside a Wajima Lacquerware compartment with hinged doors and 24K gold leaf layering, the Acclaim Collection consists of three bottles containing three different single malts distilled in either 1999 or 2000, with ABV levels at 60.8%, 61.1%, and 61.4%. Hewett designed the bottles to look like strong-shouldered samurai warriors sitting atop a stage that’s revealed upon opening the front of the display. Each bottle is then sealed with lacquered toppers that feature Hewett’s family crest.
If you’d like to purchase the Acclaim Collection for yourself, you can head over to dekantā’s website and buy one for $50,000. Only 50 sets were made in total.