Sunday, January 20, 2008

Last Night's Tipple

The Aberfeldy distillery is owned by Dewar's, one of the great Scotch blenders which is in turn owned by Bacardi. Dewar's owns several other distilleries (Aultmore, Craigellachie, Macduff, and Royal Brackla), but Aberfeldy was the first of Dewar's distilleries and remains the heart of Dewar's blended whiskies. Dewar's White Label is Dewar's flagship product and is the sixth-best selling blended Scotch whisky in the world, but its popularity varies greatly from country to country. If you go to the Dewar's website, you'll have to enter your date of birth and country of residence before you're allowed to see the content; and the countries listed at the top of the dropdown list are the UK, the US, Greece, Lebanon, Spain, Venezuela, and China. It's a good bet that Dewar's sells more Scotch in those seven countries than anywhere else. The UK and the US make a lot of sense -- both have been huge consumers of Scotch for over a hundred years. But what do the other five have in common? As far as I can tell, not much. I have no idea why Dewar's would have taken off in those five countries to the exclusion of the many others whose residents have plenty of surplus income to spend on luxury spirits.

Blended Scotches, particularly entry-level blended Scotches like Johnnie Walker Red Label and Dewar's White Label, are generally smooth and gentle; and it's entirely appropriate that Aberfeldy would form the heart of blend. It's sweet, inoffensive, and unaggressive. There's a place for that, I think, and I enjoy drinking it. It just wouldn't make my list of the the best Scotches I've tried.

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