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John Dewar & Sons

Whisky Concerns

John Dewar & Sons launches Last Great Malts collection
24 September, 2014

John Dewar & Sons has announced plans to release a range of new expressions and single malts.
Aultmore, Aberfeldy, Craigellachie, The Deveron and Royal Brackla will be launched under the "Last Great Malts" title - each release featuring an age statement.
The single malts will be released in phases as a complete set of five or in various combinations of the expressions in 10 initial markets around the world including Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, Sweden, Taiwan, United Kingdom, United States and Global Travel Retail.
Stephen Marshall, single malts global marketing manager, said: "We have been patiently reserving casks and are now ready to share the five distinguished malts with whisky lovers around the world.
"Up until now, these amazing liquids have been Scotland's best-kept secret, known only to a few. Now we're appealing to single malt drinkers - people who like stories and enthusiasts who are interested in exploring the aromas of the world's most complex spirit."
Marshall told Drinks International: "If you ask whether we are doing it, the answer is probably yes."
Aultmore 12-year-old will be available from November with a 21-year-old Travel retail and 25-year-old released in limited qualities.
Aberfeldy is repackaged and available globally as a 12-year-old and 21-year-old, with an 18-year-old Travel Retail exclusive. A 16-year-old sherry finish and 30-year-old is set for a 2015 launch.
Craigellachie - a portfolio released for the first time - will be available a 13-year-old, 17-year-old, 19-year-old travel retail and limited 23-year-old.
In summer 2015, The Deveron 12-, 18- and 25-year-old single malts will be released.
Previously released as a limited edition 35-year-old £10,000 a bottle, Royal Brackla will be released in March as 12-year-old, 16-year-old and 21-year-old expressions.
John Burke, dark spirits category director, said: "The single malt category is one of our industry's great growth opportunities. We are blessed with five of Scotland's finest, high-quality whiskies.
"We have great respect for the category and are confident that each of the Last Great Malts will be a fitting addition to the repertoire of the most discerning single malt enthusiast."
The first showing of the Last Great Malts single malt collection will be at Stockholm Beer & Whisky Festival starting on September 25


John Dewar & Sons Launches “Last Great Malts” Collection: New Expressions and Never-Before-Released Single Malts
GLASGOW, Scotland, Sept. 24, 2014 – John Dewar & Sons Ltd., one of the most respected names in the world of Scotch whisky, today announced plans to release a range of new expressions and never-before-released single malts – the hidden gems of its single malt portfolio. This bold move, unprecedented in recent years, will introduce a treasure trove of top-shelf whiskies to consumers around the world.

The distinguished drams of ABERFELDY®, AULTMORE®, CRAIGELLACHIE®, THE DEVERON® and ROYAL BRACKLA® are launched under the title of the “Last Great Malts,” each with a compelling story and character.

For generations, these distinctive whiskies have been distilled and left to mature undisturbed in oak casks. Now, at last, whisky aficionados the world over will be able to taste the single malts from these distilleries in their authentic form. “The single malt category is one of our industry’s great growth opportunities. We are blessed with five of Scotland’s finest, high-quality whiskies,” says John Burke, dark spirits category director. “We have great respect for the category and are confident that each of the Last Great Malts will be a fitting addition to the repertoire of the most discerning single malt enthusiast.”

The “Last Great Malts”
ABERFELDY, known as the “Golden Dram,” draws its water from the Pitilie Burn. Pure and fresh, its waters are famed for containing deposits of alluvial gold. The dram is much admired for its honey notes, displaying a classic Central Highland style rarely tasted in single malts today. Named “Highland Whisky of the Year 2014” by Whisky Magazine, ABERFELDY is repackaged and available globally as a 12-year-old and a 21-year-old, with an 18-year-old exclusively available in Travel Retail. The Company plans to launch a 16-year-old sherry finish and a 30-year-old in 2015.

AULTMORE is a rare Speyside malt known locally as “a nip of the Buckie Road.” The distillery’s water filters down through the misty, mysterious area called the Foggie Moss. AULTMORE is rated top-class and is a dram sought after for its gentle grassy notes. AULTMORE will be available from November with a 12- year-old, a 21-year-old in Travel Retail, and a 25-year-old in limited quantities.

CRAIGELLACHIE has released a portfolio of single malts for the first time in history. The distillery stays true to its traditions of whisky-making, including the use of worm tubs – so called for their coiled copper tubing – to cool the spirit. A challenging Speyside whisky, it was described as “old-fashioned” even in 1891 as it makes no concessions to modern-day trends. Single malt fans appreciate CRAIGELLACHIE for its remarkable sulphuric, savoury, meaty character. CRAIGELLACHIE makes its way from the distillery doors this month, with a 13-year-old, 17-year-old, a travel retail exclusive 19-year-old, and a limited 23-year-old.

Coming in summer 2015, THE DEVERON, a new range of 12-, 18- and 25-year-old single malts, made where the River Deveron meets the open seas. Offering “calm from the storm,” it’s the perfect fireside malt. Soft fruity notes combine with an easy drinking style to make THE DEVERON a favourite with the work force of the distillery.

With a previous limited edition release of a 35-year-old £10,000 (US$15,000) a bottle, ROYAL BRACKLA is a truly regal malt. Founded in 1812, in the northern Highlands, it hails from the first distillery bestowed with a royal warrant and has since been lauded as “The King’s Own Whisky.” Heavily sherried, rich, fruity and full, ROYAL BRACKLA is a fine dram to savour as it slowly reveals its complexity. To be released in March as 12-year-old, 16-year-old and 21-year-old expressions.

“We have been patiently reserving casks and we are now ready to share the five distinguished malts with whisky lovers around the world – each release features an age statement,” adds Stephen Marshall, single malts global marketing manager. “Up until now, these amazing liquids have been Scotland’s best-kept secret, known only to a few. Now we’re appealing to single malt drinkers – people who like stories and enthusiasts who are interested in exploring the aromas of the world’s most complex spirit.”

Market Availability
The single malts, which will be released in phases, will be available as a complete set of five or in various combinations of the expressions in 10 initial markets around the world including Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, Sweden, Taiwan, United Kingdom, United States and Global Travel Retail.

The first public showing of the Last Great Malts single malt Scotch collection will be at the Stockholm Beer & Whisky Festival starting September 25.

For more information on the new single malt expressions, the five distilleries, tasting notes, crafting, and heritage, please visit http://www.LastGreatMalts.com.

About John Dewar & Sons Ltd.
John Dewar & Sons Ltd. employs 300 people at seven locations throughout Scotland. The Company currently operates whisky distilleries in Aberfeldy, Macduff, Aultmore, Craigellachie and Nairn with ageing, blending, bottling and packaging facilities in Glasgow and additional maturation facilities in Poniel in Central Scotland.

The single malt brands of ABERFELDY®, AULTMORE®, CRAIGELLACHIE®, THE DEVERON® and ROYAL BRACKLA® are part of the portfolio of Bacardi Limited, headquartered in Hamilton, Bermuda. Bacardi Limited refers to the Bacardi group of companies, including Bacardi International Limited.

JOHN DEWAR & SONS
DISTILLER & BLENDER
The Scotch whisky operation of Bacardi that dates back to the start of the 19th century.

John Dewar & Sons boasts the fifth-best-selling blended Scotch brand in the world in the shape of Dewar’s White Label, which is also the leading blended Scotch in the USA.

The company owns Aberfeldy, Aultmore, Craigellachie, Macduff and Royal Brackla distilleries, with Aberfeldy offering public access via its popular interactive visitor centre, shop and café, Dewar’s World of Whisky.

In 2014 Dewar’s announced ambitious plans to release expressions at a variety of ages from all five of its malt whisky distilleries under the ‘Last Great Malts’ banner. Although Aberfeldy had been available as a single malt for some time, bottlings from the other Dewar’s distilleries were previously always rarities.

John Dewar & Sons employs 300 people at seven locations throughout Scotland. Along with its five distilleries, the company has warehousing, blending, bottling and packaging facilities in Glasgow and additional maturation facilities at Poniel in Central Scotland.

One of the most famous names in Scotch whisky, John Dewar & Sons was established in Perth, Scotland by John Dewar, who was born in 1805. At the age of 23 he joined his relative Alex MacDonald at his Perth wine merchant establishment, subsequently becoming a partner, before setting up in his own right in 1846. Whisky was at the core of his business, and in the hands of John’s sons Alexander and Tommy, Dewar’s blended Scotch became a worldwide success.

Tommy Dewar was an extrovert and a showman, and the perfect ‘front man’ for the company. Full of energy, he set out in 1892 to visit 26 countries in two years, establishing agents and employing salesmen as he went along, vastly increasing the value of the company as a result.

This was the great boom time for blended Scotch whisky, and the Dewar brothers built Aberfeldy distillery between 1896 and 1898 to provide malt for blending purposes, while Tommy eagerly embraced advertising, even commissioning one of the first moving picture commercials from the Eddison company in New York. 1899 saw the launch of Dewar’s White Label.

Hard times were to come, however, and as the Scotch whisky industry struggled financially during the early years of the 20th century, Dewar’s merged with rivals James Buchanan & Co in 1915 to form Buchanan-Dewar. Further consolidation within the industry saw Buchanan-Dewar become part of the mighty Distillers Company Ltd (DCL) in 1925.

Dewar’s remained an important brand for DCL, but following the 1997 merger of United Distillers and Grand Metropolitan to create Diageo, John Dewar & Sons was sold to Bacardi in 1998 in order to satisfy concerns over monopoly trading. A new headquarters was established in Glasgow’s London Road, and Aberfeldy, Aultmore, Craigellachie and Royal Brackla distilleries joined Macduff in the Bacardi portfolio.

DISTILLERIES & BRANDS
Aberfeldy
HIGHLAND SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Aultmore
SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Craigellachie
SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Dewar's
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Glen Deveron
SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
King Edward I
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Macduff
HIGHLAND SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Royal Brackla
HIGHLAND SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
The Deveron
SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
William Lawson's
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
ASSOCIATED COMPANIES
Bacardi (Current owner)

TOMMY DEWAR
Witty, charming, a born salesman and a natural extrovert – Tommy Dewar was the polar opposite of his more serious-minded brother, John. But this most colourful of Scotch whisky characters helped build John Dewar & Sons into the global success it remains to this day. Gavin D Smith tells his story.

Tommy Dewar: Together with his brother John, Tommy took John Dewar & Sons international (Photo: Dewar's Archive)
          ‘​A teetotaller is one who suffers from thirst, instead of enjoying it.’

In a buccaneering era for blended Scotch whisky, when colourful characters were not thin on the ground, Thomas Robert Dewar, better known as ‘Tommy’, was one of the most vivid.

Born in Perth in 1864, he was the son of John Dewar, from a crofting family in the hamlet of Dull, near Aberfeldy. John had left home to work in his uncle’s wine and spirits business in the city of Perth, ultimately becoming a partner in 1837.

He set up his own business on Perth High Street in 1846, going on to blend and bottle whiskies. His elder son John became a partner in 1879, a year before his father’s death, while younger sibling Tommy joined the family company – renamed John Dewar & Sons Ltd – around 1881, also becoming a partner.

The two brothers could hardly have been more different in character, with the serious and understated John preferring to steer clear of the limelight and oversee operations from Perthshire, while Tommy was a flamboyant charmer and born salesman, with a ready wit and endless style.

At the age of 21 he was dispatched to London to try to develop business there, arriving with the names of two contacts who were to introduce him to key figures in the capital. Dewar was undeterred when one turned out to be bankrupt and the other recently deceased.

Thanks principally to his personal charm, wit and social skills, Dewar’s blended Scotch was soon on sale in all of London’s most fashionable restaurants and hotels. From around 1893 it was available at the Savoy Hotel, and Tommy Dewar has the record as the guest who stayed the longest – having a serviced apartment there from 1904 until his death in 1930.

Dewar was the toast of metropolitan society, with his much-quoted fund of humorous maxims becoming known as ‘Dewarisms’. These included lines like: ‘A philosopher is a man who can look at an empty glass with a smile’, or: ‘We have a great regard for old age when it is bottled’, and: ‘Of two evils, choose the more interesting.’

International success: Tommy Dewar visited Egypt in 1899 (Photo: Dewar's Archive)

In 1893 John Dewar & Sons Ltd received Queen Victoria’s Royal Warrant for the supply of whisky, and Tommy numbered the Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VII, among his friends, along with Thomas Lipton, who did for tea what Dewar did for blended Scotch. The two travelled and sailed yachts together, being dubbed by the press ‘Tea Tom’ and ‘Whisky Tom’. Tommy Dewar owned only the third motor car – a Benz – to be registered in Britain, after those belonging to the Prince of Wales and ‘Tea Tom’.

          ​​‘​Keep advertising and advertising will keep you.’

Dewar was a master of publicity, and, at the Brewers’ Show in Birmingham during the 1890s, the Dewar’s stand – the only one representing a whisky company – was allocated a remote corner of the hall, so Dewar employed a bagpiper in full Highland dress to play loudly and draw attention to the stand. The fuss made by this shameless stunt duly found its way into the newspapers, giving the whisky brand invaluable exposure.

He exploited the great opportunities offered by print advertisements and also had an eye-catching illuminated sign installed on the old Shot Tower near Waterloo Bridge in London. Using 1,400 coloured light bulbs, six miles of electric cable and a programmed circuit, the ‘advert’ featured a Highlander who poured and drank glass after glass of Dewar’s whisky, while his kilt appeared to sway in the breeze. The advert was 68ft high and was said to be the largest mechanical sign in Europe.

Most innovative of all, however, was what is claimed to be the first motion picture advert, also featuring Highlanders, which was screened on a New York rooftop around 1898 to much astonishment.

With business thriving, the Dewar brothers decided to build their own distillery to guarantee supplies of malt spirit, having initially acquired the small Tullymet distillery near Ballinluig in Perthshire. They operated this until 1910, but in the meantime constructed Aberfeldy distillery between 1896 and 1898, just a few miles from their father’s birthplace. Royal Lochnagar, Glen Ord, Pulteney, Aultmore, Parkmore and Benrinnes distilleries were all added to the company’s portfolio during the next couple of decades. Dewar’s also had shares in Yoker distillery near Glasgow and, along with W P Lowrie, purchased Port Ellen on Islay.

          ‘​We should not say how's business, but where is business.’

By 1891, agents for Dewar’s were in place as far afield as South Africa and Australia, and the following year Tommy Dewar embarked upon an epic two-year world tour, visiting every continent in the world. By the time he returned home he had appointed 32 agents across 26 countries and opened a New York office. Dewar’s White Label was soon the leading blended Scotch whisky in the USA, a position it still holds to this day.

Tommy Dewar’s travel journals were fashioned into an entertaining book, entitled A Ramble Round the Globe, published in 1894 and, three years later, he was appointed the youngest ever Sheriff of London. Politically, he was a confirmed Tory and was elected as the Member of Parliament for the constituency of St George’s in the East End in 1900, serving for six years before losing his seat to a Liberal.

Shot of the Sheriff: In 1897, Tommy Dewar became the youngest ever Sheriff of London (Photo: Dewar's Archive)

Knighted in 1902, after the accession of King Edward VII to the throne, he was created a baronet in 1917 and elevated to the peerage as Baron Dewar of Homestall in Sussex two years later. Brother John, whose vitally important role in the success of the family firm should never be underestimated, had become the first ‘Whisky Baron’ in 1917, assuming the title of Baron Forteviot of Dupplin.

The family firm had merged with that of James Buchanan in 1915, though each kept its separate identity. What was titled Buchanan-Dewar Ltd was ultimately absorbed by the Distillers Company Ltd (DCL) in 1925, with John and Tommy taking seats on the DCL board.

Like his fellow blended whisky entrepreneur and rival James Buchanan, Tommy Dewar embraced the life of an English country gentleman, owning and breeding racehorses, as well as greyhounds, poultry, waterfowl and pigeons. During the First World War he lent his pigeons to the armed forces, and they were used to carry messages on various battle fronts.

In racing circles his best horses were Challenger and Cameronian. Both were home-bred by Dewar, with Cameronian winning the 1931 2,000 Guineas Stakes and Epsom Derby, while Challenger became the leading sire in the US after being sold to a new owner following Dewar’s death. This occurred in April 1930, when he was aged 66, only five months after his brother John’s death. Tommy Dewar was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium and, as he had never married, the baronetcy became extinct with his passing.

One apocryphal story nicely sums up the character of Tommy Dewar. The Scottish singer and comedian Sir Harry Lauder was a friend and frequent visitor to Dewar’s Homestall Manor estate. Lauder was known to be careful with his money, and liked to get something for nothing. He asked Dewar if he could have some of the pigeons he had bred to take home with him to Scotland. Dewar obliged, and the birds were duly caged and sent north with Lauder by rail.

What Tommy Dewar had neglected to tell Lauder, however, was that he had given him homing pigeons...

JOHN DEWAR & SONS
DISTILLER & BLENDER
The Scotch whisky operation of Bacardi that dates back to the start of the 19th century.

John Dewar & Sons boasts the fifth-best-selling blended Scotch brand in the world in the shape of Dewar’s White Label, which is also the leading blended Scotch in the USA.

The company owns Aberfeldy, Aultmore, Craigellachie, Macduff and Royal Brackla distilleries, with Aberfeldy offering public access via its popular interactive visitor centre, shop and café, Dewar’s World of Whisky.

In 2014 Dewar’s announced ambitious plans to release expressions at a variety of ages from all five of its malt whisky distilleries under the ‘Last Great Malts’ banner. Although Aberfeldy had been available as a single malt for some time, bottlings from the other Dewar’s distilleries were previously always rarities.

John Dewar & Sons employs 300 people at seven locations throughout Scotland. Along with its five distilleries, the company has warehousing, blending, bottling and packaging facilities in Glasgow and additional maturation facilities at Poniel in Central Scotland.

One of the most famous names in Scotch whisky, John Dewar & Sons was established in Perth, Scotland by John Dewar, who was born in 1805. At the age of 23 he joined his relative Alex MacDonald at his Perth wine merchant establishment, subsequently becoming a partner, before setting up in his own right in 1846. Whisky was at the core of his business, and in the hands of John’s sons Alexander and Tommy, Dewar’s blended Scotch became a worldwide success.

Tommy Dewar was an extrovert and a showman, and the perfect ‘front man’ for the company. Full of energy, he set out in 1892 to visit 26 countries in two years, establishing agents and employing salesmen as he went along, vastly increasing the value of the company as a result.

This was the great boom time for blended Scotch whisky, and the Dewar brothers built Aberfeldy distillery between 1896 and 1898 to provide malt for blending purposes, while Tommy eagerly embraced advertising, even commissioning one of the first moving picture commercials from the Eddison company in New York. 1899 saw the launch of Dewar’s White Label.

Hard times were to come, however, and as the Scotch whisky industry struggled financially during the early years of the 20th century, Dewar’s merged with rivals James Buchanan & Co in 1915 to form Buchanan-Dewar. Further consolidation within the industry saw Buchanan-Dewar become part of the mighty Distillers Company Ltd (DCL) in 1925.

Dewar’s remained an important brand for DCL, but following the 1997 merger of United Distillers and Grand Metropolitan to create Diageo, John Dewar & Sons was sold to Bacardi in 1998 in order to satisfy concerns over monopoly trading. A new headquarters was established in Glasgow’s London Road, and Aberfeldy, Aultmore, Craigellachie and Royal Brackla distilleries joined Macduff in the Bacardi portfolio.

DISTILLERIES & BRANDS
Aberfeldy
HIGHLAND SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Aultmore
SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Craigellachie
SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Dewar's
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Glen Deveron
SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
King Edward I
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Macduff
HIGHLAND SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Royal Brackla
HIGHLAND SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
The Deveron
SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
William Lawson's
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
ASSOCIATED COMPANIES
Bacardi (Current owner)

One of the classic blends, Dewar’s has retained its reputation as an accessible, smooth Scotch while modernising its range in recent years. At its core is Dewar’s White Label, which delivers the brand’s signature soft honey, vanilla and floral flavours, although 12-, 18- and 25-year-old expressions are also available.

The story of the Dewar family and their eponymous whisky business is one of entrepreneurialism, creativity and sheer boldness. It begins in 1846 with John Dewar, who opened a wine and spirits shop at 111 High Street in Perth. The premises remained in family ownership for the next 50 years, becoming the place of work for many of John’s and wife Jane Gow’s 10 children. Dewar didn’t begin blending his own whisky until the 1860s, when ‘mixture whisky’ was still relatively unknown in the area.

When Dewar died in 1880, the business was left in the hands of sons John Alexander and Thomas Robert (Tommy), who were only 24 and 16 years old respectively at the time. In 1886 the firm was renamed John Dewar & Sons, and Tommy took on the role of spreading the word of the business to London and overseas. In 1892 he set out on a two-year journey around the world, which was immortalised in the book A Ramble Round the Globe. His creative and revolutionary marketing techniques (including throwing empty bottles of Dewar’s overboard with reward notes inside for their finders) eventually became legendary.

By the following year business was booming and the company was granted a Royal Warrant from Queen Victoria. The small Tullymet distillery leased by the family could no longer cope with production demands, so in 1898 John Alexander Dewar commissioned Aberfeldy distillery a few miles away. The following year, the business released its flagship expression – Dewar’s White Label.

After Queen Victoria’s death and the accession of King Edward VII, John Dewar & Sons’ Royal Warrant was renewed – as it has been by every British monarch since – and Tommy Dewar was knighted.

Following the onset of the First World War and then Prohibition in the US, the company merged with Distillers Company Ltd in 1925 to help secure the future of the industry.

The group eventually ended up in the hands of Diageo through a series of mergers, but in 1998 was sold to Bermuda-based rum group Bacardi, along with Bombay Sapphire gin. Bacardi’s first move was to instigate a packaging update for the brand, as well as establishing a home for it. In 2000, Dewar’s World of Whisky was opened at Aberfeldy distillery, which now attracts over 30,000 visitors a year.

With demand for premium Scotch whisky growing worldwide, in 2007 Bacardi invested US$250m in expanding production capacity at its Glasgow site plus the build of a development of a new maturation facility at Poniel.

The brand made its first venture into ‘flavoured Scotch’ with the introduction of Dewar’s Highlander Honey in 2013, while a second brand makeover was implemented in 2014. A new no-age-statement expression called Scratched Cask was introduced in May 2015.

In 2017, the company introduced Dewar’s 25 Year Old to its core range as a replacement for Dewar’s Signature; two years later, the first of a planned series of ‘innovative’ finishes, Dewar’s Caribbean Smooth (extra-matured in rum casks) was launched in North America.



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