Single malt whisky forms the bulk of reviews here at WhiskyReviews.net, but every now and again I like to try out a few blends and a recent trip to Aberfeldy Distillery presented me with the opportunity to sample some of the Dewar’s range.
John Dewar founded his wine and spirits shop in Perth in 1846, unknowingly beginning a journey that would etch his name, and that of his two sons, into the history books of scotch whisky. Dewar began blending his own brand of scotch in 1860 and when his sons took over the business, they took the product to the world.
John and Thomas Dewar took over their fathers business when he passed away in 1880. With John running the day to day affairs, Thomas set off to see the world, spreading the word of Dewar’s wherever he went. In 1892 he embarked on a two year journey which took in some 26 countries, including multiple stops in the USA (Boston, New York, Chicago, San Francisco), Hawaii, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, China and Hong Kong. Thomas, or Tommy, was a charismatic man who enjoyed great success selling his product. By the time he returned home to Scotland, the Dewar’s name was well known on both sides of the Atlantic and across the Pacific. Tommy kept a journal of his travels, commenting on the places he visited, the people he met and the sights he saw. His writing was published in 1894 as ‘A Ramble Around the Globe’.
Following Tommy’s success in growing the brand, Dewar & Sons was ready to expand and in 1898, John commissioned the building of a distillery at Aberfeldy. Even today, Aberfeldy continues to supply the malt at the heart of the Dewar’s recipe and houses the ‘Dewar’s World of Whisky’ museum, dedicated to John, his sons and the brand they created.
Today, Dewar’s is owned by Bacardi though John & Tommy’s ‘White Label’ brand remains the flagship expression. The 12 year old version meanwhile, offers a touch more maturity and sophistication, thanks in part to a six month marrying period where the vatted components are put back into casks for six months.
On the nose there’s Coconut, Almond, Malt and Cereal, Honey and some light Fruit notes. The palate meanwhile offers Honey, Corn, some Toffee, slightly Burnt Toast and a strong hint of Aniseed.
Smell: Grain whisky leaps out at first but with time in the glass some malty character comes through.
Taste: Light bodied but pleasant flavour, dominated a little by that aniseed character.
Value for Money: Should come in around £30 which isn’t bad for a decent blend, aged 12 years. In fact, there’s more character here than in some single malts in the budget category.
Score: 37 / 50. An enjoyable and very drinkable dram with a real sense of character and identity.