Scotch: Blends, Malts and Your Father

dewars distillery

Single malts have driven the Scotch category for more than a decade with steady and consistent growth. Brands like The Glenlivet, The Macallan, Glenfiddich and Glenmorangie seem to drive malts and, in turn, malts drive US scotches.

Blended whisky is still the backbone of scotch, but even brands like Johnnie Walker, Dewar’s and Chivas Regal can’t seem to stop the hemorrhaging of this segment.

What does this have to do with your father?

Well, back in the day, those in the booze business felt that given 1) the difficulty of overcoming the taste hurdle of scotch and 2) it’s lack of mixability — if you found a scotch drinker, then you can be sure that his/her father introduced them to it.

That’s a problem today since most fathers stopped (or never started) drinking scotch in the first place. Besides, “my father’s scotch” is right up there with Oldsmobile. So much for modern day mentorship as a motivator for drinking scotch.

DHH Bottle FinalEnter Dewar’s Highlander Honey, the subject of my last posting.

I gave many reasons why I see this as a success so I won’t repeat them. Scroll down and see for yourself.

However, since writing that post, I’ve had occasion to speak with Arvind Krishnan, VP Brand Managing Director, Dewar’s and to taste the product along with some friends and scotch aficionados.

First, the Dewar’s people have done a great job of blending the taste of Dewar’s with fantastic notes of honey. This stuff is not artificial tasting and, the honey and scotch combine to provide a whole new flavor. As a result, they have also combined experience and exploration – as in the experience of enjoying scotch and the discovery of how pleasant and desirable it can be.

Here are two thoughts on the flavored spirits world. The Huffington Post wrote this week about flavored vodka under the heading, Flavored Vodka Companies Continue To Debut New Flavors, But Why? You can find it here.


When you get away from the kiddie flavors in vodka, you come across serious flavored American whiskies that are growing rapidly. Just this week I read that Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey has sold close to 500,000 cases in just two years.

I predict that not only will Dewar’s Highlander Honey succeed but also there will be a host of others on the market in the not too distant future. You can bet on it.

Oh, and that taste test?

It’s best summed up by the statement one non-scotch drinker made, “I had no idea scotch could taste so good.”


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1 comment

  1. I like the idea but I think whisky companies will have a difficult job getting past the customers preconceived feelings towards the whisky category with flavoured (and in particular, honey) Scotch. While the category is relatively new my experience (UK and Sweden so it may differ) so far has been that customers who already drink Scotch find the mere notion of flavouring it to be almost obscene, while the rest tend to think along the lines of your ‘oldsmobile’ example – it’s an ‘old mans’ drink, so why even bother when there are already so many other brand alternatives with a ‘younger’ focus?

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