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March 4, 2024

Dewar’s Rare New Scotch Takes Inspiration From Our Favorite Japanese Whiskies

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Dewer’s focuses on innovation with the release of Double Double 21 Year Old Mizunara Oak Cask Finish. As ultra-premium blended whisky and Japanese whisky continue to grow in popularity, the new bottle brings together the distilling traditions of Japan and Scotland. The International Wine and Spirits Record (IWSR) predicts that luxury blends will continue to grow at double-digit rates over the next year, outperforming other price tiers. Meanwhile, the Japanese whisky market is expected to grow by over nine percent by 2032. The whisky world is taking notice.

Dewar’s—the second most popular blended Scotch whisky maker in the U.S. behind longtime leader Johnnie Walker—continues to grow its share of the blended Scotch market by releasing unique expressions. Last year, the Bacardi-owned distillery debuted multiple high-end releases, including Double Double 37 and Double Double 21

“We’ve built a steady pipeline of premium innovations [AGAIN] over the past few years that has helped grow the brand,” vice president of Dewar’s for North America Brian Cox told Shanken News Daily last year.

Related: 15 Best Japanese Whiskies of 2024 for Cocktails or Sipping

Whisky lovers have become so fascinated with Japanese brown liquor partly due to Mizunara oak casks. Produced from Mizunara oak trees only grown in Japan, such wood barrels have complex notes of sandalwood, coconut, spice, and Japanese incense, imparting those unique characteristics on the liquid inside. However, making Mizunara oak casks remains a challenge.

Mizunara needs to be about 200 years old before it can be cut and used for casks. Additionally, the oak grows at odd angles with twisted branches, making it difficult to harvest, and is much more porous than American or European oak, making it prone to leakage. Cask makers have to be extra careful not to waste a harvest, as another tree won’t be ready for centuries.

In the case of Dewar’s Double Double 21 Year Old Mizunara Oak Cask Finish, which is bottled at 46 percent ABV, the extra effort is well worth it. The whisky is sweet and clean with subtle notes of coconut, creamy vanilla, and sandalwood. According to Stephanie Macleod, Dewar’s master blender, there’s an “additional nuanced floral freshness that the Mizunara imbues on the silken complexity of this 21 year old.”

The whisky goes through a four-stage aging process. “In the case of the Double Double Mizunara Oak Cask Finish, the process starts with the conventional aging of malt and grain whiskies separately in oak casks,” says Macleod. “The grain and malt whiskies are blended and aged in neutral oak casks a second time. In the third stage, the grain and malt whiskies are combined into a final blend and aged once more in neutral oak casks, usually for around six months, with regular checks to ensure it is progressing as it should. Finally, the blended whisky undergoes a fourth stage of finishing in Mizunara oak casks for up to a year.”

Bottled at 46 percent ABV, Dewar’s Double Double 21 Year Old Mizunara Oak Cask Finish is priced at $150.

Dewar’s Double Double 21 Year Old Mizunara Oak Cask Finish

Courtesy of Dewar's

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Related: The 15 Best Scotch Whiskies of 2024


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