Dewar's: A Rich Past
Dewar's is a brand of Blended Scotch Whisky with a long and storied history that dates back to 1846, when John Dewar and his sons opened a market in Perth, Scotland where they sold Scotch Whisky. Eventually, they would start blending Whiskies together to create their own signature blend.
In the 1880s, John’s sons Tommy and John inherited the business and set about their work. They were determined to change not only how blended whisky could be better, but also how it could be better marketed. This lead to two very important events in the 1890s.
- First, they hired A.J. Cameron to be their Master Blender, who would go on to perfect the double aging process.
- Then, in 1897, they produced what is considered to be the first film advertisement, known as the “It’s Scotch” ad.
Also in the 1890s, at the request of Andrew Carnegie, Tommy Dewar sent an 18 gallon barrel of their whisky to President Benjamin Harrison, which ruffled plenty of American Whiskey Makers' feathers.
At the end of the 1800s, Dewar's built their Aberfeldy Distillery and mastered their signature blend. This became their White Label, and 120 years later, they are still using the same blend. And while they use whisky from a few distilleries, Aberfeldy is the only one they actually own.
Dewar's Today: The Smooth Lineup
Dewar's has recently started releasing Single Malt expressions from Aberfeldy; the 18 year made Whiskey Advocatess's top 20 in 2020. Over the years, Dewar's has expanded its lineup by adding 12, 15, 18, and 25 year bottlings, as well as the highly acclaimed Double Double lineup.
In recent years, with changing laws concerning the types of barrels Scotch can be aged in, they have added a line that they refer to as "smooth." It is a line of 8 year Dewar's, finished in barrels that expand the boundaries of Scotch to new and exciting flavors. Take a look at the lineup:
Dewar's White Label. The signature Dewar's Blend that has been the same for over 120 years. It is a blend of over 40 Single Malt and Grain whiskies, with Aberfeldy being the main proportion. They also use Single Malts from Royal Brackla, Aultmore, and The Deveron, among others. It has a subtle smokiness, with floral, citrus and honey flavors. This is the whisky of choice for Highball drinkers around the globe
Dewars Caribbean Smooth. Dewar's signature blend. Aged for 8 years, then double aged, and finally finished for at least 6 months in Rum casks. The Rum finish adds burnt sugar and molasses flavors, with subtle banana and pineapple notes.
Dewar's Ilegal Smooth. Dewar's signature blend, aged for 8 years, then double aged and finally finished in Ilegal (brand) Mezcal Barrels. The Mezcal adds hints of smoke and caramel, with sweet and peppery agave notes. This one is fun and quirky and really pushes the boundaries of where barrel finishing can go.
Dewar's Portugese Smooth. Dewar's signature blend, aged for 8 years, then double aged, and finally finished in Portuguese Port barrels. This is the newest addition to the Smooth line. The Port barrels add rich flavors of dark fruit with hints of cocoa and honey. This exemplifies the “smooth” aspect of this lineup for certain.