This time, on pain of death, I won’t mention that other brand. Fortunately, Dewar’s 15 made it easy on me – there isn’t a direct flavour (or price) comparison to be made here, and they’ve done something pretty interesting with their take on a 15-year-old expression. All aboard!
Ooh, we’ve got a delicate one here. And fairly simple overall. First up we have some candle wax (Aultmore?) Fudge. Cream. Something very sweet once it’s been a while in the glass – candy floss. A strong mint that carries the other flavours, but not toothpaste-levels.
A wee bit hotter than the nose might have suggested. But insanely drinkable nevertheless, and still fairly simple. The overall effect is buttery and malty. Plenty of oranges. Zesty. Not quite as sweet as on the nose (Scotch sweet, not bourbon sweet). Peanut brittle.
At this point it dawned on me I was writing down adjectives I typically use to describe Glenmorangie, and it was like a switch flipped in my brain: Dewar’s 15 is the Glenmorangie 10 of blends – in fact the similarity is striking. Lovely stuff!
Unfortunately that’s as far as the comparison goes – where Glenmo 10 got a nice new coconut emerging from a little added water, Dewar’s 15 sinks rapidly into blend mush.
Oily, warming and zesty. Banana. Fairly short, but pleasant.
Argh, again, a different sort of beast. Dewar’s 15 is a silkier, creamier version of Dewar’s 12. Gone is the spice and the richer fruits, replaced with baking, citrus and sweetness. It’s all a matter of preference. And unlike most vertical lineups, where you go from a light 12-year-old and increase the wine casks up to the 18-year, Dewar’s 15 breaks tradition by resisting the drippy barrels in favour of something many whisky makers have lost: subtlety.
I danced around considering this as tempting as Dewar’s 12, the same quality but different styles. Until I tried it alongside my (ever present) bottle of Glenmorangie and was completely unable to decide which I preferred… meaning we’re clearly in Glenmo 10 territory here.
Dewar’s 15 is a terrific dram, a great escape from more intense single malts and flamboyant blends. Light and drinkable, easy to appreciate and excellently priced (how much for a 15-year-old Scotch!?) Nail it!