Aging, with John Dewar

The name Dewar’s probably conjures a lot of memories for a lot of people.  Some of them are probably not particularly clear, many of them not particularly good I would imagine.  As a fellow who always put scotch on the backseat, my memories are of the vaguest kind.  I remember liking it more than Johnny Walker Red, because it tastes a bit less like someone added liquid smoke to the water inside an old tire. Beyond that I don’t think I’ve given it much stock, because for a similar price you can buy a number of far better smaller label scotch or even Irish expressions.  There is perhaps only one clear memory I can account to Dewar’s (the old white label,) several years back and in the wee-est hours of the morning.  I had secured through donation a few various big name label liters of whisky (I’ll omit the “e” out of respect,) one of which was the aforementioned White Label.  About that time a good friend was returning across country from a tin-tube in the sky, and in celebration a gathering was planned at the lake house of another friend.  To skip the irrelevant, after having retrieved our friend from his late flight, we came to the lake house at about 11pm, and with the youthful exuberance we once had, decided to get things started.  Entree Dewar’s.  Over the next several hours we took to a bit of the sing-song, guitars and screaming our throats bloody to the dawn’s early hours across the lake to the rising sun.  After that, we keep singing.  At some point the Dewar’s expired and onward we went, until in the clear light of day (sometime about noontime) we too expired.  When I awoke later that afternoon, I had lost the capacity to speak, which was fortunately a temporary state, and seemed fair payment for such a fine night.

“Ah, but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.” Older indeed do I drink, which is where the star of tonight’s show comes in.  Aberfeldy Perthshire Distillery of the Central Scottish Highlands was founded in the year 1896, by…wait for it…John Dewar.  Aberfeldy 12 year Single Malt, therefore is like a respected older brother to the young blended white, and quite frankly, the brother has become quite a bit more civilized in the years of experience, or oak.  On first glance it is not even obvious this is a Dewar’s product, it’s essentially in the fine print, and the handsome, distinguished packaging gives a nice aristocratic touch that would be at home on Churchill’s breakfast tray.


In this dram, the juice of John Dewar’s has matured, and it’s beyond skin deep.  That may be poor phrasing.  Anyways, our new friend Aberfeldy here has a masculine cologne to match the suit.  The opening nose is to my ol’ factory a feint bit smoky, which dissipates to a rich warm interplay of baked apple, spices, dark fruit, and just a hint of citrus.  It’s an aroma that is desperately hard to resist.

I have very little powers to resist today, so here I go.  Each taste is supple, with an oily viscous quality that holds a fine honey nectar, with a rich dark sugar, figs, and a pleasant dusty malt.  Sadly, the palate notes are a bit ephemeral, but luckily enough we are granted a long and pleasant finish, with spice, orange rind, a bit of smokiness that lingers in my breathe.

I think I am a bit older, even more mature, than that kid who sang himself mute on Dewar’s white. I may not always act like it, but it sure is damn nice to drink like it, and this is a fine dram to do so with. It’s also worth noting that while “growing up” with cost you nearly twice your Dewar’s white, that’s only a cool $40, and for that price you’ve done quite well for yourself.