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Friday, January 7, 2022

Things I Really Drink: Dewar's 21 year old Double Double

Welcome to this year's new blog edition addition: Things I Really Drink. As a wee offset to all of my sample reviews, each month I'll post about an actual bottle of whisky I purchased, opened and drank. Though I'm not sure how many clusters 2022 will hold, there should be plenty of TIRDs.

I can't stand the standard Dewar's products. The 12yo nauseates me (literally), the Mizunara Cask thing seems like it was never tried by anyone before it was put on the market, and White Label is Cutty's only real competitor for the worst major blend. So it surprises me even more than you to see a Dewar's blend leading off this series. Yes, I bought a bottle of Dewar's 21 year old Double Double, and I finished it very quickly, only partly because it was 375mL.

As expected, I did not take a photo of the bottle. Though I did take a pic of the packaging. Because.

The whole "Double Double" thing is certainly a shtick. But it does seem sort of like a shtick devised by a blender.

Step 1: Age the grain whisky and malt whisky. (The most subversive step!)

Step 2: Blend and vat the grain whiskies with the grain whiskies, and the malts with the malts. Age some more.

Step 3: Blend the vatted grain whiskies with the vatted malt whiskies. More aging.

Step 4: Finish the blend in _____ casks.

Each of the Double Double releases has its own Step 4 closer; with the 21, it's Oloroso. If Dewar's decides to add another member to the Double Double team (after the 21, 27, 32 and 36), I hope they consider using refill hogsheads to finish the job.

In any case, the result of this maturation approach is pretty good at 21 years. Though I think the success is more due to its grownup presentation:

As mentioned, the contents of my bottle vanished quickly. Luckily I set aside 60mL for this review.


The nose starts off very nutty, of both the raw and roasted sort. It also has a light brininess to go with a nori flake note. The color is quite dark, but it's not a contemporary-style sherry bomb in the sniffer. Small touches of toffee, toasted oak and vanilla bean are its lone modern notes.

The palate has some bite to it, and luckily only a little bit of tannin. It's mostly dried raspberries in semi-sweet chocolate, with a little bit of honey in the background.

It finishes with tart blackberries and limes. Some honey and Cabernet Sauvignon.


Here it reads more like a familiar sherried malt, with more dried stone fruits and simple sweetness. But it drinks very well without being too smoooooooooth.


A friend (Dr. Springbank) and I recently tried to figure out what Dewar's gets so wrong with its basic blends, because Bacardi owns either very good or neutral single malts. And until recently they weren't in the single malt game. I wondered if the grain was the problem. Dr. Springbank put it better, "Whatever they're using is terrible."

The Double Double 21 not only leaps over that issue, but is (to my palate) better than Bacardi's Aberfeldy 21, possibly even maltier. Kudos to the company for following the proper presentations of the Aultmore and Craigellachie single malts with this 46abv/NCF/NC blend. I look forward to buying another bottle this year.

Availability - It's around, though not in Ohio anymore (damn it)
Pricing - $50ish for a 375mL bottle
Rating - 85


  1. Years ago I was guided by a Dewar's rep to try their 18yo at an event. I liked it so much I bought a bottle and I think everything else they've produced is shiiiiite.

    1. Due to my experiences with their shiiiiite, I passed up umpteen sales/closeouts of Dewar's 18yo when I lived in California. So I've never actually tried it. I will certainly give it a try now!