BELANCĒ Journal - Dewars Scotch Whisky Posted on 05 Mar 10:00
Anyone who has visited our stores in recent times, would of noticed our fine selection of Scotch that we have on offer. These bottles are by no means are random selection; they've been carefully selected by our friends at Dewars, for us to share with our clients whilst we talk tailoring.
We've recently teamed up with Dewars to organise Tailoring and Whisky Masterclasses; essentially, we bring the best of both worlds together for one night and invite a few lucky customers. These events are held at our Barangaroo store and occasionally local office spaces.
Andy Wren is a Dewars brand ambassador and whisky expert, he is also the man in charge of dropping knowledge during these Whisky Masterclasses. We sat down with Andy to chat a little more about the whisky side of things and to get a few more insights about how to act when we are at the bar.
What’s the one discerning characteristic of Dewars scotch whisky, which separates it from the rest?
Dewar’s are the only large scale blending company which double ages our premium blends. That is the Dewar’s 12 and older. The process is an expensive additional technique which sees our whiskies aged separately, then carefully blended by our Master Blender, Stephanie Macleod. We then age the blended whisky again for up to 6 months to marry the flavour together and create a delicious dram with unmistakeable smoothness.
The Aberfeldy single malt is a definite favourite among the team, can you explain how this whisky fits in with the rest of the Dewars family?
The Aberfeldy distillery was established in 1898. It was built due to the explosion in popularity of Dewar’s whisky when Tommy Dewar, the son of the founder, travelled the world and took his fathers whisky around the world.
To create a consistent heart of the blend, the brothers Dewar built the distillery. It’s stone fruit, honey and orange zest characteristic is the single malt upon which the Dewar’s blend is based. It stands alone as a single malt in its own right and is highly regarded as an approachable highland dram. The 21 year old is an amazing example of how fruit develops over time in oak casks.
Could you tell us your top tips when it comes to whisky tasting, and what it is we should we be looking for?
Whisky is truly a full sensory experience. To “get to know” whisky you should use your eyes, nose and palate in that order.
Looking at Scotch whisky can tell you a lot about it. Lighter single malts tend to be younger than darker coloured ones; or they could be heavily influenced by sherry and European oak casks.
Using your nose to smell the aroma of the whisky will give you 80% of the information you’ll finally taste. Get to know the whisky. I try to identify the wood sugar notes such as caramels, toffee, fudge and crème brulee. Then I look for the fruity notes. What is the fruit? Is it orchard fruit, stone fruit or tropical fruit? Finally, if there is some smoke, is it balanced or over powering?
Then you taste and see if the aroma and visual clues match up to the flavour. If the straight whisky is over powering, add a splash of water to reduce the strength and try again.
A lot of us are foodies here in BELANCĒ, when drinking scotch what are your top recommendations for food pairing?
Whisky is way more flexible than you would imagine. The key to creating memorable food pairings with whisky is to find chefs or artisanal producers who understand how to balance against a powerful flavour like whisky.
The key for me is to ensure there is a good salt balance in the paired dishes (desserts included). This will draw out the natural sweetness of the whisky and really showcase the fruity and subtle complexity hidden in the dram. Salt is a flavour enhancer and does the same to the whisky it’s paired with.
With that in mind there isn’t much that won’t pair well with whisky. I’ve even had a whisky paired dinner at the Spice Temple in Melbourne. A super spicy Chinese cuisine, specialising in Sichuan pepper which I did not expect to pair well… It was incredible.
How important is age when it comes to scotch, is older always better or is that just a common misconception?
Older can be better and it can be worse! It really depends on the style of whisky you want to drink and what kind of mood you are in.
Generally older whiskies come with a heavier price tag and tend to be appreciated neat, rather than mixed or enjoyed in cocktails. Over time the oak flavours tend to become more dominant and the fruit begins to soften and subside. If this is balanced, older whiskies can be super silky and elegant.
Younger whiskies tend to retain their slight burn on the palate where you feel the spice of the alcohol; As it hits 18 years old, this really begins to subside and the whisky tastes very smooth. This rule is definitely broken by one of our single malts, Craigellachie, which seems to taste fruitier as it gets older. You should try the 19 year old as an example of this. Bright pineapple notes jump out of the glass.