I tried this first of all at a Dewar’s tasting under the name of The Very Dull Whisky Club. It was tremendous value at £10 including delivery for a sample of this, plus a 23 year old Craigellachie and 28 year old Glen Deveron.
All three samples went down well with the attendees, although a few openly (and most i’m sure internally) were questioning the price point of the single malts, at over £400 for the Craigellachie and over £300 for the Glen Deveron. The Glen Deveron also bottled at a mere 40% for good measure! I think I will pass on buying those.
I went into the tasting thinking it was all about the two older malts. The blend was just a warm up for the better drams ahead. I was therefore fairly surprised by how much I was enjoying the much younger and cheaper blend. A number of the attendees expressed similar thoughts too. That’s the joy of tastings, something you would never have considered previously can surprise you.
One of the first things that would have turned me off before the tasting was the term “smooth” on the label, which is usually a massive turn off for whisky fans, including myself. It is often a byword for uninteresting, dull and sanitised whisky that may appeal to the drinker who likes to mix with cola or soda. Nothing wrong with that, it just isn’t what I look for in whisky. It would certainly work well as a mixer, but there is plenty going for it sipped neat too.
I decided it was worth exploring further, and soon after the tasting I picked up a bottle. It is priced at £28+P&P, and I believe is currently only available from the Dewar’s web shop. The price – while inexpensive – is plenty of money for a young blend at 40%, but I was intrigued enough to take the plunge, and the 10% discount for taking part in the tasting event helped a little too.
I believe as with many of the Dewar’s blended range, it is a vatting of around 40 single malts and grains, blended together and then finished in Port casks. They also do a Caribbean smooth, which as you can image, has been finished in Rum.
Having spent a few weeks with the bottle, here are my thoughts;
Nose : Rather young and spirity initially on the nose, but there are plenty of really good aromas at play here. Orange marmalade, burnt caramel, honeydew melon, blackcurrant, dandelion and burdoch, honeycomb and bitter chocolate, along with ginger and all spice. There’s also some freshly ground coffee, camomile tea and rainwater giving a slightly earthy note.
Palate : Sweet, sour and then bitter sensations on the palate, with Seville orange, sultana and blackcurrant the dominant fruity flavours. Plenty of honey, coffee, mint and bitter oak. Salt and pepper spice notes in the finish with tobacco and more of the drying oak tannins.
Conclusions : When I first opened the bottle I was disappointed. The experience I had on the tasting night was nothing like what I was getting this time. It was very closed and not as flavourful as I remember.
Thankfully, after a couple of weeks, it started to change for the better and was much more like what I tasted that night. Some bottles just take a bit of time to open up and reveal themselves. Unfortunately, the price appears to have gone up a little. It was £25 when I ordered it a couple of months ago, and is now £28.
It is a little thin at 40%, but this is a very competent blend with lots of good, fruity flavours. The Port casks have certainly added a fair amount of vibrant colour too. I have a few low cost blends on the shelf that have been there for some time. I think this one might not last quite as long.
The next Very Dull Whisky Club tasting is on Friday 28th May at 7pm GMT. This time there is the new Royal Brackla 12 (46%), Craigellachie 21 (55.7%) and Dewar’s Double Double 21 (46%). All for £15 delivered whilst stocks last >> https://shop.dewars.com/collections/tasting-kits/products/the-very-dull-whisky-club-may-28th-2020-tasting . I must add, I have no affiliation with Dewar’s, I just think it’s a great value tasting.
Score : 6.5/10
(Score descriptions can be found in the About page)
Three word review : Sweet. Juicy. Fruity
ABV : 40%
Non-chill filtered : No
Natural Colour : Not sure
Maturation : A blend of around 40 malts and grains with a Port cask finish
Region : N/A
Colour : Amber Copper Glow