Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Review: Dewar's 12 years Pure Malt (circa 1980s)

A member (Whisky Dawg Bob) of the whisky club I belong to was given a bottle of 12 year old Dewar's Pure Malt Scotch Whisky (long since discontinued) that was bottled sometime in the 1980's.  Matter of fact, the fellow who gave him this old blended malt soldier has a case of it in his musty basement.  In any event, we were having one of those meetings where everyone just brought an interesting bottle, as the club funds had been exhausted due to costly purchases made by yours truly for the last meeting.

I was intrigued.  A bottle that sat in someone's basement for over thirty years was now on my coffee table.  The bottle had a simple twist off metal cap.  No cork.  Could air have gotten in and spoiled the whisky?  I was mesmerized.

I made sure it was the first drink of the night, as I wanted to really appreciate this whisky.  What made this pure malt interesting was that it was an old release, and an unexceptional one.  No cult following for Dewar's Pure Malt.  It is not a single malt, so not terribly collectible.  I suppose there is a market for old bottles of blends, but not like a Macallan from the 80's.  Again, I must say I was intrigued.

So, what did it taste like?

I twisted the metal cap off, which gave some resistance, a good sign I thought, and then proceeded to pour a dram.  On the nose, I was not picking up much.  Some apples and dandelion.  That was about it.  Nothing impressive.  I took a sip and was immediately rewarded with plenty of fresh orchard apples, honey, a wee lemon and pancakes drizzled in maple syrup.  Wow!  Right in my wheelhouse.  I was happy.  Weeks later, I sampled this bottle some more and was not disappointed.  Very balanced and the flavor profile was identical to the first tasting.  A solid drink.

This bottle came complete with the original cardboard packaging.  Wow!  I mean this was printed up at the same time Bob Newhart was on television and Reagan was in office.  A real time machine.  I was blissed out by this pure malt.  I must say that I am a fan of pure malts anyway and wish there were more on the market.  Oxidation was not an issue.  The seal was intact for 30 some years.

Bottom line:  If you get the chance to sample an old bottle of any whisky, you may be delighted, and don't fear the metal twist off cap.  It can keep the air out just as well as the cork stopper and maybe better in the sense there is nothing to dry up, crumble, fall in the spirit and ruin it.


Jason Debly

P.S.  This blog has recorded over 4 million hits and I just wanted to say thanks to you for continuing to visit and read my posts.  Much appreciated.


  1. Great blog, always a good read. Congrats on 4million hits. Cheers. Gregg

  2. 4 mil !!??
    Shows you must be doing something right Jason.
    Actually I wanted to thank you for helping me be more bold and want to keeping trying different styles that I normally wouldn't.....sounds schmaltzy I know...
    But thanks mate.
    Unfortunately I don't think I'll ever get the chance to sample something that ancient....
    AL (from OZ)

    1. Hi Al,

      I apologize for not responding early but had been traveling through many time zones for work. Thanks for the kind words!


  3. No wucks mate.
    Just heard my eldest daughter will be arriving back from her holiday in India (with her boyfriend) on Sunday ..... an engaged woman. Her partner is over there for work (for another few months). I will be opening a nice bottle of Old Virginian(12yr old) bourbon and quietly celebrate heh heh....

  4. Congratulations on 4 million views Jason. You've got a great blog going here, informative but also lively and entertaining to read (and thankfully free of the superciliousness that infects so much writing about whisky on the web and elsewhere!)