- $50 (375 ml)
- 92 Proof
- 21 Years
Not too long ago Whiskey Advocate came out with its list of the Top 20 Whiskies of 2019. The list drew a lot of criticism and skepticism, and rightly so. But nonetheless, I made it a point to grab a couple of the bottles near the top of the list that I had not yet tried. One was their #1 rated whiskey, George Dickel Bottled In Bond. I was not a fan, and I immediately questioned the credibility of the remainder of the rankings and how that whiskey could possibly have made the top of anybody's list.
Nonetheless, I made it a point to grab another off the list, the #2 whiskey, Dewar's Blended 21 Year Double Aged Scotch. Granted, I grabbed this before actually trying the Dickel, but that was due in part to it having been recommended to me by the spirits manager from my local Binny's well-before this list actually came out. So, there wasn't a whole lot of hesitation in trying it, other than that it was $50 for a .375 ml bottle. But I figured I've paid more for less.
It's been a while since I've done a Scotch, and I feel like I've been doing myself a disservice. Between Scotch and bourbon, I think, as far as the smell goes, my preference is Scotch. I got a decent amount of oak and leather on the nose of this one. But, I also got sweet tobacco leaf, one of my favorite smells in the world. In addition to these earthy notes, though, I also got some bright notes of dried apricot, as well as a baked goods kind of note, kind of like banana bread. I also got the slightest grainy note, but it was sweet, like caramel corn.
As to flavor, this was very malty and crackery, like a wheat thin type cracker -- savory but with a little bit of sweetness to it. The banana bread that I got on the nose was fairly prominent as well, providing a bit of richness to go with that malty note.
Much like the nose, the flavor also had a bright note to it, again reminding me of apricot, but sweeter than simply dried apricots. It was more like an apricot jam. I also got notes of banana (consistent with the banana bread flavor, I know), as well as a bit of a peppery spice. Additionally, I got a light coffee note, but not so bitter as to provide a rough edge. In fact, there was not a single rough edge, overstated flavor or overdone note to this whisky. It really had great balance.
This is only 92 proof, but it had a great, buttery texture to it that provided a nice, long finish. What seemed to linger the most on the finish was the banana and black pepper spice. However, it was also on the finish that I really seemed to notice the Sherry cask influence, as I also got notes of raspberry and cranberry--bright berry notes with a touch of bitterness to it to keep it from getting too sweet.
I loved this whiskey. It was full of nuance and complexity, and somehow it all worked perfectly well together. It reminded me a lot of why I initially got into Scotch in the first place. On this one I can't fault Whiskey Advocate for such a high ranking. This was delicious! I only wish it came in a bigger bottle!