The Dewar’s Double Double 21 Year Old opens on the nose with a white pepper snowball. It’s unclear if it’s just one giant peppercorn, or if it’s a white ball made out of small grains of pepper, or if it’s an actual snowball that improbably smells like white pepper. But it’s irrelevant! The nose is entrancing, inviting. We got also rose water, tincture of stewed prunes, and a faint hint of Moroccan Rhobs ell Arsa from a mister sprayed by my great-aunt, who believes the anti-septic properties of citric acid help keep aphids off of her lemon chess pie and infamous rutabaga-rhubarb tart. There’s muted wedding cake with butter-caramel-cream frosting, like one senses in the background of the wedding reception held for two millenials, who felt guilted into a ceremony by their worried, aging Boomer parents, who just don’t understand these new-fangled pronouns.
The mouth has a delicious Zen simplicity to it. It’s not complex, rich, nor layered. Yet, there is a there there, contra Gertrude Stein, and it’s incredibly univocal for a blend. The more I drink, the more I marvel at the genius and intelligence of blenders who are able to marry a diversity of malts from different distilleries into a dynamic statement, and this expression is a superb inspirer of such marvels. There’s a fine, light tobacco after-taste, and my tongue is now fermenting in kombucha. It’s simple and evocative, like the best of Paul Klee’s paintings, and it’s so tightly integrated, it’s like a district impervious to gerrymandering.
The finish is piquant and tingly-tangly. The spices swerve towards jalapeño and spearmint, then they think perhaps they will deke towards fruit-juicy. By now, my esophagus is confused, but it revels in the length and the emergence of complexity. Engelbert—my esophagus, whom I’ve named “Engelbert”—appreciates also the slow fade, like the perfect houseguest who knows just when to leave. Mmmm. Tannic tangelos. Here, at the closing of the day of the sip, is where the Olorosa sherry coyly doffs the veil that hitherto hid it from Engelbert.
On the scale of blackjack bets–
The Dewar’s Double Double 21 Year Old is doubling down on a double down–It’s not exactly a legal or viable bet (a 21 double double, as it were), but breaking the bounds of the possible is what this drink is all about. Shatter expectations and shatter reality again, Dewar’s!
–Our thanks to Dewar’s for the sample!