Number One Drinks Co.
Karuizawa – Japan’s smallest distillery – closed its doors in 2000. In 2006, Number One Drinks Co. began to release single cask bottlings from its stock, which gained Karuizawa a cult following. When a single cask laid down in 1960 was discovered, the whisky world was on tenterhooks. Cask No. 5627 yielded 41 bottles of the world’s oldest and rarest Japanese whisky. Our role? To define how it would be presented to the world.
Whisky collectors were our target audience. This passionate community deserved a collector’s item that did justice to the incredible whisky heritage inside the handcrafted presentation cases – modelled on Japanese puzzle boxes. To give the 41 bottles their own individual story and significance, we named each one after the traditional netsuke, miniature Japanese sculptures, that hung around their necks.
The design continued the storytelling, with detail reflecting the links between Scotch and the Karuizawa distillery style. Dual labels made of exquisite handmade washi paper come together on the bottle, perfectly aligned. One hand pressed and hot metal branded by a craft printer in Scotland, the other with fine art calligraphy applied in Japan.
The accompanying two-sided book, in English and Japanese – features award winning whisky writer David Broom, which added an extra layer of connection to the whisky community.
We presented Karuizawa 1960 with a respect, authenticity and individuality that was befitting of a whisky of such remarkable character and quality. It has since become a benchmark for all luxury whisky releases.
- All 41 bottles were sold in advance of final release.
- Now one of the most sought after, rarest pieces of whisky packaging in the world.
- Auction sales repeatedly break records for Japanese Whisky. Achieving more than 30 x original sales price.
- Best Whisky Design: World Whiskies Awards