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Drink Review: Dewar’s Signature

A deluxe blend launched in the UK to compete with the likes of Johnnie Walker Blue Label. This has proven extremely popular, and received 95 points from Jim Murray in the Whisky Bible. Picked up the top prize in its category at the World Whisky Awards 2010.

Dewars Signature Review:

In 1889, John Dewar and Sons released its finest Scotch, Dewar’s 12 years old blended Scotch whisky, a blend using cereal whiskies from the oldest known distilleries. The Dewar’s 8 years old blended Scotch whisky was followed by the 10 years old in 1898; this was awarded the Gold Medal at the Paris Universal Exhibition.

In 1913, the Company was created under Royal Charter and, in 1897 opened its own distillery at Aberfeldy, Scotland.

In 1937, its Dewar’s 15 years old blended Scotch whisky received gold medals at the Paris International Exhibition of 1937. The “Golden Jubilee” was a celebration of Queen Victoria’s 50 years of reign and in 1898 a bottle of Dewar’s 10 years old Scotch was presented to Queen Victoria on the occasion of her Golden Jubilee; the gift is still housed in Balmoral Castle. She enjoyed it so much that she founded a Royal Order of Chivas Regal 15 years old blended Scotch whisky in her honour. The Queen appointed Sir Thomas Lipton, of Lipton Tea fame, as the “Chieftain” of the Order; she also created a Court of Assistants who awarded the “Golden Shield” to those who had served Chivas Regal for 15 consecutive years.

Over the course of the 1930’s, Dewar’s established itself as the world’s leading blended whisky, having invested heavily in the Cask Strength Series, and it was these bottlings of single malts, partially matured in sherry casks that were finally distilled to around 11 years old, and released as Dewar’s 12 years Cask Strength blended Scotch whisky – the first of the series. The Denon Series – named for the French impressionist painter – the Gold Label followed in 1935. This was the first blended Scotch whisky to be matured exclusively in Sherry casks, and the world’s first Gold Label was awarded 99 points by Wine Connoisseur Magazine.

In the 1950’s Dewar’s, perhaps, pioneered its “Signature” series, although some references suggest this was not the case until the end of the decade. This was to be a selection of single malts chosen for their exceptional character, and offered at cask strength. When the “Signature” series was introduced to the US in the early 1960’s it was the first time an American whiskey had ever been released at a natural cask strength. Dewar’s was to become the first Scotch distillery ever to be awarded the title of “World’s Finest Distillery” in 1961.

Today there are up to eight different styles of Dewars available around the world. Dewar’s 12, Dewar’s 18,20, Dewar’s 25, Dewar’s 12 Cask Strength, Dewar’s Signature, Dewar’s 18 Cask Strength and Dewar’s 20 Cask Strength.

Written by Mark Adams

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