Whisky Magazine Issue 102
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Gavin D. Smith looks at the fortunes of Dewar's White Label
Dewar's is one of the great names of blended Scotch whisky, and although the White Label brand is hard to find in the UK, it is the leading blended Scotch in the USA. The blend was created by John Dewar & Sons' legendary first blender AJ Cameron in 1899, a year after production had commenced at the firm's new Aberfeldy distillery in Perthshire, and it was due to the skills of Cameron and his successors that White Label was able to carry the famous strapline ‘It never varies.' The creation of Aberfeldy reflected the growing prosperity and confidence of John Dewar & Sons, which was riding high on the apparently ever-increasing popularity of blended Scotch whisky. Dewar's headquarters was in Perth, where bonding, blending and bottling took place, and a railway line connected Aberfeldy to Perth for transportation of the raw materials of distilling and casks filled with spirit.
At that time, the company was headed by brothers John and Tommy Dewar, whose father, John, had established a wine and spirits shop in Perth back in 1846, beginning to blend whisky during the 1860s. Tommy Dewar is renowned as one of the most colourful characters in the history of Scotch whisky, noted for his ‘Dewarisms' such as ‘A teetotaller is one who suffers from thirst instead of enjoying it.' In 1892 he set off on a two-year sales tour of the world. By the time he returned he had spent the vast sum of £14,000, but had established relations with 33 agents in 26 countries, and opened a branch of t...