Dewar’s latest expression is their Scratched Cask blended scotch whisky. For this one, Dewar’s takes their matured White Label whisky and finishes it in charred and scratched American oak casks for several months. The barrels are a blend of virgin and ex-bourbon casks. It’s bottled at 40% abv and retails for about $25, just a couple of dollars more expensive than the standard White Label.
The nose is unmistakeable Dewar’s White Label, with an added richness. Honey, heather, and vanilla show strong. Taste-wise, Dewar’s Scratched Cask delivers just what I expected – a slightly sweeter version of their White Label. Honey, malted grain, and heather. The finishing casks add some vanilla and just a touch of barrel char on the backend. The official tasting notes call for oak, but it comes across as char to me. The finish has a touch of spice (probably brought on by the charred casks), and is slightly longer than the White Label.
I like what Dewar’s is doing here. The charred and scratched cask finish brings an added layer of complexity to what’s otherwise a light, crisp blended whisky. They’ve also nailed the price on the head – just a $5 premium over the standard White Label. I’d love to see a stronger version of this, maybe at 43% abv or 48% abv, but that’s just wishful thinking. If you like Dewar’s White Label, I’m pretty sure you’ll like this one.