A.J. Cameron created the Dewar's White Label Blended Scotch Whisky "heather and honey" blend in 1899. Now more than a century later, it remains one of the preeminent blended whiskies in the world and the bestselling Scotch whisky in America. In fact, 75% of the entire production of White Label is exported to the States.
In 1846, John Dewar opened a business as a wine and spirits merchant in Perth, Scotland. Cameron and he experimented blending together various types of whiskies from different regions in the country in an attempt to enhance their overall quality and character. Along the way they developed the process of double aging. After the various whiskies are married together, the blend is re-barreled for several months to allow the constituent spirits to harmonize and become fully integrated.
The Dewar's brand became so successful that they were the first distillery to market their whiskies in glass bottles. In 1896, the firm constructed the Aberfeldy Distillery in Perthshire to produce Highland single malt whiskies exclusively for use in the Dewar's blends. The state-of-the-art facility was ideally situated near the pristine waters of the Pitilie Burn and barley fields on either side. The contributions of the Aberfeldy malts proved invaluable to the company's efforts and Dewar's most famous blend—White Label—launched several years later.
Maintaining the blend's famous taste profile is now in the capable hands of Stephanie Macleod—the current Dewar's master blender and one of few senior women on the production side of Scotch whisky. White Label is crafted from more than 40 single malts and grain whiskies from each appellation in Scotland. At the core of its blend are the renowned malts of Dewar's Highland distilleries, most notably Aberfeldy (Speyside), Lochnagar (Highlands), Benrinnes (Speyside), Pulteney (Highlands), Aultmore (Speyside), Royal Brackla (Highlands), Craigellachie (Speyside) and Glen Ord (Highlands).
Dewar's White Label well deserves its fame and critical acclaim. The 80-proof whisky has a deep amber/gold color, a medium, velvety textured body and a generous fruity, honeyed, floral and lightly peated bouquet. The nose alone is worth the price of a dram. The palate is a skillfully balanced offering of honey, oaky vanilla, fresh plums, semisweet malt and grain. The flavors persist throughout the mildly smoky finish.
The firm also produces award-winning Dewar's 12 Years Old Special Reserve. Created in 2000 by Dewar's sixth master blender, Tom Aitken, the limited edition blend is comprised of 12-year-old single malt whiskies distilled in different regions of Scotland. After blending, Special Reserve is further matured in oak barrels to allow the various whiskies to fully integrate. It is bottled at 86 proof.
Dewar's 12 is a fitting tribute to master blender Tom Aitken's extraordinary abilities. The whisky has a luminous amber hue, a medium-weight body and a wafting bouquet of heather and figs. Its soft entry gradually fills the mouth with a lush array of flavors, a warm palate of coffee, citrus, caramel and vanilla. The finish is long, spicy and lightly peated.
Dewar's has for a century served as a benchmark by which other whiskies are measured. All evidence suggests that it will remain the basis of comparison for the next 100 years.