The venue for the evening of Dewar’s Whisky Academy was Cantaloupe, one of the restaurants of Troika Sky Dining. This affords the advantage of a contemplative view of the KL skyline, as well as the opportunity to avail oneself to the delectable contemporary European cuisine. Each of the courses was carefully paired with complementary cocktails – based on Dewar’s whisky, of course, because that is what the guests were here to taste.
Dewar’s is admittedly not as widely known in this region as it perhaps should be; this despite the fact that it is the number one blended whisky in the US, and is a holder of the British Royal Warrant. John Dewar and Sons was founded in Scotland in 1846, and was one of the first companies that ever offered blended whisky. Throughout its early history, it was very much a family business; their Celtic knot logo reflects this, consisting as it does of three interlocking Ds – one John Dewar himself, and one for each of his sons, Tommy and John Alexander.
The tasting session proper began with guests being reminded of the basic principles of whisky tasting; in particular, to pay close attention to one’s nose. In fact, Dewar’s Master Blender Stephanie Macleod exclusively uses her nose in assembling her concoctions.
The Dewar’s lineup consists of three, standing proud with age statements: the 12-year (RM210), 15-year (RM268) and 18-year (RM355). Immediately apparent throughout the range is a distinct, bright sweetness; it is light and honey-like rather than thick and heavy, and does not linger. A mild but noticeable, rounded peat lends a hint of muscle, as does the whiff of smoke. All three also make for remarkably friendly drams – this is no surprise, as Dewar’s prides itself on double-aging its whisky. This process goes the extra mile to ensure smoothness; it consists of an extra six-month barrel-aging period, undertaken after being blended and just before being bottled.
These base qualities are immediately apparent in the 12-year, in a clean and lively fashion. The 15 takes those elements and adds a layer of fruity richness and complexity. The 18-year does the same, but in a bolder, fuller expression; it is the most intricate and layered of the three, but never loses its creamy and lengthy finish.