Not too long ago, Whisky Co. was invited to Edinburgh’s quirky Hotel Du Vin for an evening with Dewar’s Whisky. From poorhouse, to asylum, to science lab, to luxury boutique hotel, the building is nestled just off the city’s famous Royal Mile and boasts a fabulous courtyard bistro, as well as decadent suites and its own Whisky Snug.
Dewar’s Whisky had taken over part of the hotel to create ‘Dewar’s Hotel’; an immersive journey into Dewar’s history, served up alongside some really super whisky cocktails.
I’ve written briefly about Dewar’s in the past (right here), so having visited the distillery, I was keen to learn more about this whisky and its history. The distillery is a stone’s throw from my parent’s place by Aberfeldy and I always recommend the distillery to any guests visiting the Perthshire area.
Blind taste test:
The evening began with an initial blind taste test. 90% of the group managed to correctly distinguish Dewar’s 12 from Johnnie Walker Black (good job considering Dewar’s Master Blender, Stephanie Macleod was in our group!). Dewar’s had the edge, with a sweet, buttery and warm sticky apple flavour, intertwined with traces of melted caramel, oak and vanilla.
We were then handed leather aprons, measuring beakers and pipettes before being led into a blending lab. Transported back to our school chemistry days, we set about blending our own Dewar’s whisky from a selection of sample bottles. The samples contained grain, cereal, floral, sweet and smoky whiskies. My final creation (after a couple of horrific attempts) resulted in the Peated Puck – a blend with a grain base, a sweet nose, a nutty and spicy flavour and just a kiss of smoke. We got to keep our creations, but mine remains tucked at the back of our bar at home (best to leave it to the experts!).
The best was yet to come though, as we were treated to a selection of delicious whisky cocktails made by the super talented Dewar’s Ambassador, Jamie Mac and my good buddy Kyle Jamieson (who I interviewed for Whisky Co. right here). I love whisky cocktails, they’re so versatile and blended whisky works particularly well, so I was looking forward to the offerings from the Dewar’s Hotel at the hands of these two very talented chaps.
The cocktails focused on modern highballs. The highball is a delightful and refreshing combination of whisky, hard cut ice, lashings of cold soda and sweet garnishes. The Dewar’s Hotel cocktails were twists on classic highballs, my favourites being Jamie’s ‘Blood + Sand + Ice’ – a revived and innovative version of the Blood + Sand and Kyle’s ‘The Rambler’ – a blended tea creation (recipe below!), which rounded off a wonderful evening of whisky.
Cocktail recipe: Kyle Jamieson’s ‘The Rambler’
A delicious cocktail combining blended whisky and a special tea blend for a truly Scottish edge.
Kyle’s special tea blend (Scots Earl Grey, Bergamot, heather, blossom honey)
10cl East Imperial ginger ale
Served with spheres of ice
We also got to watch this rather motivational Live True video at the hotel. Check it out if you’re requiring a bit of motivation (or hipsters) in your life!
Whisky Co. were guests of Dewar’s Whisky