Whisky Advocate

Making the Blend

by Ian Buxton

“Handcrafted from up to 40 of Scotland’s finest single malt and grain whiskies.”

It’s a boast you’re probably familiar with, coming as it does from the publicity for Dewar’s White Label, a long-time favorite of the American whisky drinker.

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But hold on. Dewar’s doesn’t own 40 distilleries. They don’t own twenty or even ten; in fact, they own five, with not a single grain distillery among them. And, famous five though they might be (well, stretching a point there for the alliteration), by my math that leaves them 35 distilleries short.

That’s not to pick on Dewar’s. A little bit of work on the Internet will soon turn up similar claims for other blended Scotch whiskies. So what’s going on? How does a company with five distilleries put up to 40 different whiskies into its blend? Perhaps more importantly, why?

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