Dewar’s 25-year-old blended whisky review

Photo courtesy of Dewar’s

Age statements are of some importance to Dewar’s.  The blended whisky giant has made a major change to their core lineup.  Replacing their non-age statement luxury blend Dewar’s Signature is a new 25-year-old expression.   This comes at a time when many major brands are consistently removing age statements.

Dewar’s 25 is finished in freshly-dumped casks that were used to age Royal Brackla, a malt found in Dewar’s.  At 40% abv, Dewar’s 25-year-old doesn’t have as robust a nose as I’d like, but what’s offered is nice.  There’s some fruitiness on display in the form of spiced apple and pear.  A bit of toffee, vanilla and leather become more apparent with a little airtime.  The palate is similar to the nose in many ways.  Initial waves of honey and vanilla cake are met with crisp red apple and brown pear, sweet malt, lemon peel and oak spice.  Hints of leather and oak show up mid-palate and continue into the finish, where sweet toffee and spice regain their traction.  

Where this whisky slightly disappoints is its thin mouthfeel.  I know that Dewar’s is appealing to the mass market by bottling the whisky at 40% abv.   After all, the majority of blended Scotch whisky is bottled at 40%.  I think that a very slight increase to 43% would have improved this whisky exponentially while still maintaining the smoothness generally associated with Dewar’s.  

Nitpicking aside, I really like what I taste in Dewar’s 25.  It is a wonderfully matured, carefully blended whisky.  I just wish the whisky had a little more structure to further showcase those aromas and flavors.  8/10
Thanks to Dewar’s for the sample.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Last Great Malts

Bottle shots courtesy of Dewar's.

Bottle shots courtesy of Dewar’s.

Dewar’s recently released a series of single malts collectively referred to as The Last Great Malts.  These include Aberfeldy, The Deveron, Aultmore, Royal Brackla, and Craigellachie.  These single malts are among those used in the Dewar’s blend.   To commemorate these releases, Dewar’s has released a short promo video featuring heavy hitters Dave Broom and Charles Maclean.

I’m tasting all except Craigellachie (which I hope to get to soon).  All single malts are 12 years old and are bottled at 40% except for Aultmore, which is bottled at 46%.


At the heart of Dewar’s lies Aberfeldy.  It’s what that blend is built around.  Right off the bat, you immediately notice that familiar Dewar’s nose.  Light floral aromas intermingle with rich honey, stewed pear and vanilla on the nose.  There’s just a hint of tropical fruit on the backend that becomes more apparent with a little time in the glass.  The whisky offers a slightly heavy mouthfeel while delivering delicate notes of toffee, light spiced honey, green pear, and a touch of oak.  The finish offers a touch of black pepper and mirliton.  Nice.  Definitely a major component of Dewar’s.  I’d love to see how this one ages, but what’s in the glass is an uncomplicated, silky whisky. 7.5/10


From the Macduff distillery, The Deveron is supposed to capture a touch of sea air.  Toffee, seaweed and hints of tropical fruit define the nose.  Taste-wise, we’re looking at rich salted caramel, spiced vanilla custard, grilled pineapple, seaweed,  pine cones and black pepper.  The finish isn’t long, and leaves behind notes of stewed fruit and herbs.  Re-tasting Dewar’s 12, I can recognize the Deveron in the blend, but it’s nowhere near as dominant a whisky as Aberfeldy.  There’s lots going on here compared to Aberfeldy.  It’s not as sweet, but offers an interesting green fruit and plant profile.  8/10


The first distillery to hold a Royal Warrant, The Brackla distillery’s single malts have just been released in the US. Sherried fruit, mango, and light toffee make up the nose on this 12-year-old whisky.  The entry is light, and features notes of rich tropical fruit, spice cake, and sherried malt.  There’s a rich mouthfeel here… The richest of the four malts in this post.  The slightly dry finish features a touch of cinnamon, red wine and malt.  Based on what I’m tasting here, I’m assuming this I a small component of Dewar’s.  There’s probably just enough to add a slight Sherry note.  Definitely my favorite of the bunch, due to it’s sherried component.  8/10


Aultmore has the lightest color of the group, leading me to think there is little to no coloring added.  The nose is less sweet and fruity than the other malts.  Freshly mowed grass, herbs and flowers with a touch of vanilla and toffee make up the nose here.  A sweet candied fruit starts things off, with anise, rosemary and vanilla providing some backbone alongside some toffee and lemon rind.  The long finish leaves behind a nice semi-sweet & bitter and malty note.  A solid offering!  8/10

Thanks to Dewar’s and their PR company for the samples.  As always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tasting My Way Through a Dewar’s Vertical

A few weeks ago I poured a glass of Dewar’s White Label.  While I played catch up on my DVR, I remember taking a long, slow sip of whisky and thought it’d be interesting to go through the entire Dewar’s core line.  I was curious how the blends changed with age, from the 12-year-old to the 15, 18 and non-age stated Dewar’s Signature.  Then I thought it’d be fun to try some of the malts that go into Dewar’s.

So I reached out to Dewar’s, and not only did they send me samples of their core lineup, I was also sent a sample of 12-year-old expressions of Aberfeldy, Aultmore, The Deveron and Royal Brackla.  This post will focus on the Dewar’s blends first.  All are bottled at 40% abv.

Bottle photography courtesy of Dewar's.

Bottle photography courtesy of Dewar’s.


Compared to the standard White Label, Dewar’s 12-year-old expression immediately benefits from a sweeter, fruitier nose, with ripe pears, honeyed malt and a bit of lemon rind.  Light toffee and candied lemon peel lead the palate, giving way to corn flakes and some stewed red fruits.  The finish is abrupt, leaving a lingering grainy note behind.  Pleasant, but not a huge upgrade from the standard White Label for me.  7/10


The nose here is similar to the younger 12-year-old whisky, but contains a richness that leads me to suspect there’s a bit more malt in this blend.  Clove honey and spiced apples lead the nose, with some freshly squeezed lemon juice and wheat bread in the background.  A light burst of spice and honeyed malt develop into toffee, lemon custard and cereal grains.  The medium finish leaves behind a sweet and slightly tart note.  Dewar’s 15-year-old offers a better experience than its two younger siblings, and is worthy of a pour.  7.5/10


What does three more years of maturation add to the table?  For starters, it’s still Dewar’s, which means it’s still subdued.  But what’s here is nice.  The nose has caramelized fruit, orange blossom honey, orange marmalade, with hints of figs and oak.  Even more flavorful than the enjoyable 15-year-old expression, Dewar’s 18 offers stewed red fruit, baked pie crust, honey, and lemon rind, with some toasted oak and vanilla bean.  The sweet malty finish is a touch longer than younger expressions.  I like this one as much as the 15-year-old, but for different reasons.  I found a touch more spice on that one, where here oak (and all it carries) finally starts to make an appearance.  7.5/10


The Johnnie Walker Blue of Dewar’s, so to speak.  That’s how I described this to my wife when handing her the glass for a sip.  Truth is, there’s no age statement on Dewar’s Signature.  It’s older malt and grain whiskies blended with younger ones.  Age is a number, it’s not everything.  The richest of all Dewar’s blends, the nose here is full of dark toffee, spiced green pears, dark fruits, and French vanilla ice cream.  On first sip, I get a viscosity that leads me to believe there is a high percentage of malt whiskies in the blend.  It almost feels like a good single malt.  Light brown sugar, candied red fruits, toasted oak and slightly burnt orange peel fill the palate.  Toasted malt and cinnamon sticks appear towards the back palate.  That slight spice carries into the long, sweet malty finish.  8/10

Based solely on flavor, I’d name Signature as my favorite Dewar’s blend.  But if we’re talking value, I’m tied between the 15- and 18-year-old expressions.  Each expression takes the Dewar’s sweet malty flavor profile a step further, culminating with the excellent, but pricey, non-age statement Signature.