Monday, December 26, 2011

Whisky review: Dewar's 18 Year

My brother gave me this whisky after I finished my PhD. While many whisky "connoisseurs" will turn up their noses at the name of Dewar's, I had specifically mentioned this whisky as one I'd like to own. Why? The base of Dewar's is Aberfeldy, a single malt made in the Highlands of Scotland. I had previously owned a few bottles of the Aberfeldy 12 Year, the standard single malt bottling from the distillery. While my first bottle was outstanding, my second was fairly dismal. I'm not sure what causes the variation (varying quality of the stocks?), but it's the third single malt in which I've noticed significant variation (the first two being the Old Pulteney 12 and the Balvenie 12 DoubleWood).

So I was hoping that the Dewar's 18, which would likely be made in larger batches than the Aberfeldy single malt, would have a more consistent flavor profile and would highlight the best of Aberfeldy.

Dewar's 18 Year, 40% ABV
Blended Scotch whisky

Nose: Honey, vanilla, and a darker fruit backbone. Some very nice casks on the nose. Well-balanced and enticing.

Palate: This does indeed taste a lot like the better Aberfeldy 12 bottlings I've had. Roasty and toasty. I think the best way to describe this whisky is that it's like licking the sweet interior of a cask that is part ex-bourbon and part ex-sherry.

Finish: More toastiness, and warming.

Rating (of 100): 92. Solid whisky from start to finish, and appropriate for most any mood or season. I'm happy to taste that Aberfeldy quality in there, and hopefully all bottlings of this blend consistently contain it.