Rare Karuizawa 35-Year-Old Japanese Whisky Collection

The new collection of rare Karuizawa 35 Year Old (1981 – 2017) Whisky, featuring hand-painted street art inspired by Japanese modern martial arts. This rare and fine Japanese Whisky will cost $45,000 USD.

Each Japanese whisky bottle in The Budo Collection – Karuizawa 35 Year Old Japanese Single Cask Whisky features art from one of three Japanese street artists, individually hand-painted and inspired by Japanese martial arts – Kendo, Karate and Sumo. The term “Budo” is a Japanese word used to describe the philosophy behind the martial arts. The name was chosen to celebrate the dedication to craft, which is shared by martial arts practitioners, street artists and master distillers alike.

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The streets artists all have a background in martial arts. PHIL, founder of SCA-Crew, a group of prominent streets artists who work between Tokyo and Kanagawa, painted a Yokozuna (a grand champion sumo wrestler) in stance for the Sharanui style opening ceremony. The bottles have been individually hand painted and signed by the original artists. The stand of the whisky bottle is also inspired by martial arts, taking influence from the Japanese roof structures above traditional outdoor sumo rings, called dohyō.

This release from Dekanta is likely to be among the very final casks from Karuizawa to be bottled. Closed in 2000, the Karuizawa distillery has enjoyed increased interest since. Demand for stock from the distillery has increased dramatically, along with the price of the remaining bottles, which have reached tens and hundreds of thousands of US dollars on the secondary market.

According to recent auction sales, which provide further indication that the appetite for Karuizawa, whisky is strong. In March 2020, a bottle of Karuizawa 52 Year Old (1960) Zodiac Rat Cask #5627 sold for 435,273 USD at Sotheby’s London, making it the most expensive bottle of Japanese whisky ever sold at auction–until Yamazaki 55 Year Old smashed the record, selling for $795,000. The Karuizawa Budō Collection is limited to just 129 bottles, comprising 43 three-bottle sets.