Wednesday, 15 August 2012

A toast to Akio Kamei

Kamei has been producing great puzzles and inspiring a new generation of puzzle craftsmen for some time now. 

His latest version of the Whiskey Bottle puzzle box was created in 2008 in walnut. The earlier version from 1983 had been crafted in a much lighter wood and the new version is described as being essentially the same as the earlier version except that the mechanism has been improved and should be more robust … so now you know!

I’ve always thought of this as one of the classic Kamei designs, so when I saw a copy come up for sale, I dived in and a short while later the bottle had travelled from Brussels to Barnt Green and I was happily puzzling.
This puzzle shares a common theme with a couple of other designs where there’s a pretty obvious “secret” compartment that you’ll be forced to find rather quickly – in this case the mere act of picking the bottle up (in a certain way, admittedly!) gives you access to the first compartment – a little drawer inside the top part of the bottle… 

What’s not so obvious is the presence of a second (really!) secret compartment and that’s the real puzzle. That compartment is rather neatly hidden and requires a few moves in order to open it up properly – one or two of them are a little unusual – they won’t slow down an avid puzzler, but they will certainly mislead the casual metagrobologist into thinking they’d completed the task and totally miss out on the real puzzle.

I think this one’s a classic – it looks great among the other puzzles and it stands out rather nicely due to it’s size. It certainly looks the part and it’s good to have one in the hoard!


  1. Welcome back home Allard after what must have been a terrible trip!!

    I initially saw the top picture only and laughed aloud when I thought the great puzzle maker had made a wooden toilet brush in holder!! As I repeatedly say on the blog - "not very bright"!!


  2. Hi Allard, thanks for this article, it was the best description I could find for this piece.

    I am actually new to the puzzle boxes (but could quickly see getting addicted) and I was searching for a good place to look to buy them. Do you have any good resources in general and for this piece in particular?

    Thank you!


    1. Thanks Chris - "the usual" puzzle auction sites (Baxterweb, Haubrich, Puzzle Place and Cubic Dissection) are worth watching, as would places like Izumiya and PuzzleBox World be, where they occassioanlly come up for sale...Good luck!

  3. Hi Allard,

    Loved reading your description on this piece. It's one I've searched for countless time to no avail and stumped on this while looking for it. Do you have any suggestions where I could find one of these for sale?

    I tried all the above you mentioned without success, and wasn't sure if there may even be a thread exchange for particular pieces like this or you knew someone with one. A reach, but thought I'd ask!

    Anyways, great read and thank you for any help!

    Another Chris

  4. ....those are really the only options, apart from getting to know other puzzlers, lots of them and making sure they all have feelers out for a particular box, and then you need to get lucky! (Last one I saw was on Baxter's in 2017)