Whisky Advocate

New Dewar’s 18 yr. old: perfect with an ice cube?

March 27th, 2009

The U.S. is finally getting Dewar’s 18 year old, scheduled for sometime this spring. Here are some excerpts from the press release I received.

Rare whiskies were carefully selected for DEWAR’S 18 Founder’s Reserve, and the Master Blender took painstaking care in managing the time-honored marrying process that lends refinement to the exceptional blend. Created and perfected by the legendary AJ Cameron, DEWAR’S first Master Blender, the DEWAR’S marrying process is often imitated but never bettered.

The process takes fine Scotch whiskies at their peak of perfection and improves upon them. Having created a blend of the finest Scotch whiskies from the different regions of Scotland, the Master Blender then allows them to rest for a further period in exclusively reserved vintage oak casks, ensuring that their individual flavors and aromas harmonize to achieve the perfectly balanced and exceptionally smooth Scotch that is DEWAR’S 18.

The color of DEWAR’S 18 is a warm, golden amber with a nose that is immediately sweet and mellow with notes of honey, toffee, butterscotch and perfumed floral notes; subtle hints of almond emerge and a delicate impression of vanilla bean. With time, notes of citrus zest, ripe cherries and just a touch of fresh coconut appear. Vanilla and toffee notes dominate the palette with a mellow, soft sweetness with lingering creaminess and a full bodied oakiness, followed by a long, soft and warming finish with a slight dryness.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the press release is the last paragraph.

Each bottle of DEWAR’S 18 is individually numbered, and the perfect serve is in a rocks glass with one ice cube. Suggested retail price is $80.00.

I don’t remember any whisky company ever saying that a perfect serve for their whisky is in a rocks glass with one ice cube, do you? On the rocks, yes. But not just one ice cube. (Maybe I just wasn’t paying attention.) Regardless, I’m looking forward to trying the whisky.

13 Responses to “New Dewar’s 18 yr. old: perfect with an ice cube?”

  1. Par Caldenby says:

    Indeed, a rather odd comment by a well reputed whisky company. Almost as if they’d designed the blend to go well at low temps? Or might it be designed to fit the conceptions of the intended market, in this case perhaps the US? In my view, adding ice to any whisky means that you will be dumbing it down and if it needs that to be at its best, it is not really a top class product (or not whisky)… But hey, that’s just my tuppence.

    / Pär

  2. Brian says:

    I saw the same advice around the neck of my bottle of Baker’s. The packet itself featured all of the small batch collection, so I don’t remember which one suggested the single ice cube.

  3. Alex says:

    I don’t add ice to sctoch, but when I add it to bourbon I use just one cube. When it melts (if it stays in your glass that long) you don’t end up with too much water and it chills it more slowly.

  4. Louis says:

    This seems to an industry thing with blends and bourbon, that they ‘must’ be consumed with ice. Perhaps Dewars is trying to back off by specifying only one ice cube.

    I think that on the rocks is the difference between the general public and whisk(e)y enthusiasts. Of course ice dumbs down the taste. So the main point of differentiation is the advertising, which is a whole lot easier than educating the general public of why Dewars is different from Johnnie Walker, for example.



  5. Red_Arremer says:

    Who knows– maybe it is the perfect serve… Maybe it shines with that one ice cube in a way that other whiskies don’t?

    John, just out of interest, do you ever, for any reason, use ice? For instance, at any time during the process of reviewing Bruichladdich Rocks, did you ever actually put it on the rocks?

  6. Scotty Freebairn says:

    Quite frankly, I appreciate good Scotch with an ice cube or two. And, I believe the new Dewer’s 18 will be a top quality product in every way. Purists may say “no ice” but that’s a matter of preference, isn’t it ?

    • John Hansell says:

      Scotty, I agree. I wasn’t arguing that people shouldn’t use ice in their whisky (to each his or her own), but rather I was commenting that I never saw the “one ice cube” recommendation by the company in a scotch whisky before.

  7. Ken Young says:

    Maybe if the ice cube was a frozen quality scotch…

    Don’t get me wrong, I like some blends, but I question the integrity of a product that claims improvement with the addition of frozen water. Were those tasting notes before, during or after the ice melted?


  8. Jim says:

    I am a big fan of all Dewars blends, the 18 is not an exception. My wife brought me home a bottle from Costa Rica a year ago and I looked everywhere for it(after the first was gone), I was told they had it in New York, but to no avail. The 18 takes the basic Dewars flavors common to the white label and the 12 and compresses them into an incredible blend. I sometimes don’t see a great improvement between some brands 12 and 18’s, but the distinction here is notable in the depth of the flavors, the 18 Dewars is a totally recognizeable improvement on the 12, which I have actually foregone lately for the lightness of the white label. If you like Dewars, you will love the 18, and i bought the first bottle I saw this summer.

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