Despite “Dewars” being a household name to the rest of the world, the Bacardi-owned whiskies have only recently arrived on South African soil. As such Johnnie Walker’s most popular rival has remained fairly untested locally, not to mention some of the fantastic malts that go into the blend – Aultmore and Craigellachie in particular.
Nick Koumbarakis – a man of supreme taste and style – invited us over for a cheeky whisky lineup, part of Aultmore’s big push into the single malt market in the Mother City and beyond.
Starting with the blends, Dewars 12 (43%) was a huge surprise, easily matching Johnnie Walker Black punch for punch with an extra sherry twang.
Next up, the shockingly well priced Dewars 15 (43%), a slightly peaty, meaty expression with a rich finish and a musty, mature quality that knocks the socks off most equally aged malts, never mind blends!
The first single malt of the evening – Aultmore 12 (46%) – is an effortless intro to the Aultmore style, a light and fruity Speysider with a generous (and atypical) ABV for an entry-level malt.
Where Aultmore 12 is easy-going and unpretentious, Aultmore 18 (46%) gives you a lot to chew on. Tougher to define, complex and spicy, with a sweetness on the back of the palate, this is one to drink over the course of an evening rather than a party-starter.
Just when we thought the evening was wrapping up, Nick casually produced a bottle of Craigellachie 21 Distiller’s Edition (57.2%), an absolute monster of a dram, eye-wateringly strong, but beautifully tamed with a spot of water. Oily, sherried perfection.
Special thanks to Nick Koumbarakis for (as always!) a generous and informative whisky tasting. What a legend.
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