The relaunch of the 12-Year-Old blend continues a legacy of tradition and innovation now stretching into a third century. Today, the name Dewar’s has become synonymous with blended Scotch with its whiskies on backbars around the world, but the company has its roots as a humble wine and spirits shop in Perth, Scotland.
Founder John Dewar first saw the opportunity to make his own whisky blend, but it was his pioneering sons, John Alexander and Tommy, who built the company into the one we recognize today.
Tommy famously lived the life of a bon vivant, while John Alexander used his business acumen to develop the Dewar’s brand first in Scotland and then around the world. Over several decades, the pair drove a remarkable expansion of the business including the building of a distillery on the outskirts of the village of Aberfeldy near the pristine water source The Pitilie Burn. The distillery also honors their father’s legacy, standing just three miles from where he was born.
Brian Cox, Vice President, Dewar’s Scotch Whisky North America, says of the new blend, “The beauty of our scotch whisky is the ability to bring the breadth of flavor—as well as the depth of flavor—from the variety of single malts and grains that we use to make it.”
Continual innovation in the whisky segment means that knowledgeable consumers increasingly have more sophisticated and aged options to enjoy, and everyone is competing to introduce newcomers to the category. “Reimagining and relaunching this whisky has always been about one thing: delighting whisk(e)y drinkers,” Cox says. “Whether you are a connoisseur looking to discover something new or are just seeking to share and enjoy with friends and family, we are certain that everyone will find something to savor and relish.”
To accompany the blend’s relaunch, Dewar’s has reimagined the bottle and labeling as well. The whisky is presented in a new, premium clear glass bottle with a modified base, branding and enclosure. The label emphasizes the double aging process and offers tasting notes that immediately make the whisky more accessible. Overall, the streamlined look serves to modernize a heritage brand while remaining true to authenticity. The signature of Master Distiller Stephanie Macleod adds a nice, personalized touch.
“Having been experimenting with the influence of cask types on flavor and texture for the last ten years,” Macleod says, “we knew the time was right to bring some of what we have learnt to our core range of whiskies.” Elevating an industry leader is no small task and Macleod turned to the use of American oak first fill bourbon casks to bring her desired complexity and layers of fruit, spice, and floral notes.
The company takes great pride in its status as the “most awarded blend Scotch whisky,” having amassed more than a thousand awards over its storied existence. And true to form, shortly after release, Whisky Advocate named Dewar’s 12-Year-Old as the #1 Scotch Whisky of the Year with a score of 94 points, calling the blend “captivatingly delicious and texturally silken.” Writer Johnny McCormick wrote, “Without changing a beat of the blend’s 40 malts and grains, Macleod’s methods prove her mastery of the craft yet again.”
Dewar’s recommends serving the blend neat or over a single rock so guests can discover the complexity and layers of flavor the bourbon barrels impart. Then try it as the base for any favorite whisky cocktail, from an Old Fashioned to a Manhattan to the iconic Highball, a drink whose creation has been attributed to Tommy Dewar, who was out on the town in New York with friends in 1892 when he ordered a whisky with soda and ice in a tall glass.