I first encountered Dewar's 12 year old scotch on a United flight. They handed it out in little bottles along with a plastic cup full of ice. This was early in my scotch drinking years, and my Dewar's experience has been tainted ever since. Can anything good come out of an airplane food cart?
Then there's the packaging. The old label just looked cheap, and aesthetics and perceived value have incredible power to influence taste and impressions.
It's taken me almost five years to plunk down the change to buy a bottle. I probably still would be waiting if not for the new label. The dark bottle and sharp white branding communicate something of history and value, even if what's inside hasn't changed.
It only took one sip and I was bored with Dewar's 12 and ready to dismiss it. Mustering up the courage to press on, I decided to give it one more go. I took my time, carefully inhaling the aromas and listening for any missed flavors.
There's more to Dewar's 12 than I first thought...
I'm 4/5ths of my way through this bottle, and I'm finally starting to appreciate what I have. You really have to pay attention if you want to enjoy it. It's balanced; probably a little too balanced, and therefore mild. Maybe that's why it's so popular with new scotch lovers (and first class flyers).
Dewar's 12 Year Old Special Reserve Scotch
Nose: Sweet oats, molasses, fresh hay mow, light peat smoke, caramel.
Taste: Balanced. Sweet peat starts on the tip of the tongue and rolls its way down the palate, finishing with a mild smokiness. Caramel.
Price: $18.99-$30.99. Available most places scotch is sold.
Recommendation: If you can get it for $19 or less, give it a chance. If not, go for something else.
I've always enjoyed trying new things, whether it's a new type of food, a different wine, or just a place I've never visited before.