East meets west

Karuizawa 1960, Number One Drinks Co.

When Karuizawa – Japan’s smallest distillery – closed in 2000, its stock of 364 casks was sold to the Number One Drinks Co. In 2006, they began to release single cask bottlings which not only won awards but also a cult following for Karuizawa. When a single cask laid down in 1960 was discovered, interest from the whisky world was electric.

Cask No. 5627 yielded 41 precious bottles of the oldest and rarest Japanese whisky in the world. And we were invited to package this spirit for market with the respect, authenticity and individuality that would befit a spirit of such remarkable character and quality.

Founded in 1955, Karuizawa was a traditional distillery using imported Scottish ingredients. Our creative articulation pays homage to the language, art and culture of both the East and the West.

From the handcrafted presentation cases (modelled on Japanese puzzle boxes) to the exquisite handmade washi paper with deckle edging for the labels, and from unique fine art calligraphy to hot metal branding – we brought each bottle and box to life through layers of Eastern and Western artistry.

Each bottle is decorated with, and named after, its own unique netsuke (miniature sculptures invented in 17th century Japan) sourced and selected from a specialist dealer.

The accompanying book – which naturally reads forwards and backwards, in English and Japanese – features award-winning whisky writer David Broom and delicate woodcuts by renowned illustrator Paul Kershaw.

All 41 bottles were sold in advance.

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