Dewar’s is tripling down on its doubled-aged blended Scotch series with Portuguese Smooth, an eight-year-old whisky with a Port-cask finish. The new blend joins the company’s Caribbean Smooth Rum Cask Finish and Ilegal Smooth Mezcal Finish in the grouping.
Finishing touches have been used for decades for single-malt Scotches, but are relatively new to the world of blended Scotch. The process involves long maturation in casks previously used for another type of liquid (typically Bourbon barrels) and then a shorter aging in another cask. In this case, the second vessels are ex-Port wine casks from the Douro Valley of Portugal—hence the name.
Dewar’s has also recently introduced a trio of whiskies—the Double Double series—with an even more complex regime of aging and blending. The Sherry-finished whiskies come in 21-, 27- and 32-year-old iterations. (See article in Cigar Aficionado, February 2021).
Brian Cox, vice-president for North America, says he hopes the whisky “will inspire people to look beyond the obvious.” Part of that seems to be such cocktails suggestions as a Spiced Tonic Highball (Smooth Portuguese with spiced quinine water and an orange slice) and a Ginger Highball (with ginger ale and a lemon slice). Both are tangy and bright, but we also found that the whisky’s fruit charms pop with the effervescence of simple seltzer water.
The new whisky also serves to mark the 175th anniversary of the Dewar’s brand, which grew from a small wine and spirits shop founded in 1846 in Perth, Scotland, to become, through dynamic marketing, an internationally known brand.
Dewar’s Smooth Portuguese 8-Year-Old Port Finish (80 proof, $22)
- Appearance: Bronze with hints of ruby. Fat legs.
- Nose: Berries, cherries and maple syrup.
- Palate: Currants, cherries, peach, pear, slight peat.
- Finish: Honey, cherry, dried fruit, maple candy.