Whisky Magazine Issue 123
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Times are a changing for these centuries old distilleries
Of all the Scotch whisky companies which own multiple distilleries, John Dewar & Sons Ltd has arguably done less than any other to develop a portfolio of single malts from its five malt-producing sites. True, Aberfeldy single malt has been available in 12 and 21 Years Old expressions for some years and there have been a number of other very limited releases of late, but when did you last see a bottling of Aultmore, Craigellachie or Royal Brackla? However, all that is changing, and changing in a major way.
Highest profile of Dewar's distilleries, partly due to the availability of its robust, sweet and fruity ‘make' and partly because of its popular, interactive ‘Dewar's World of Whisky' visitor centre, is Aberfeldy in Perthshire. It was built by the Perth based company of John Dewar & Sons between 1896 and 1898 to supply malt for their increasingly successful blends, and through ownership by Distillers Company Ltd (DCL) and its successor Diageo, Aberfeldy and the Dewar's name have remained inextricably linked. This relationship continued when Bermuda based Bacardi Ltd acquired the Dewar's portfolio in 1998 for the sum of £1.15 billion.
The creation of Diageo by the merger of Guinness PLC and Grand Metropolitan PLC led to a requirement for the vast new organisation to sell off the Dewar's section of the business to avoid infringing monopolies legislation and a bidding frenzy ended with Bacardi being triumphant.
Along with the US bestselling blend Dewar's White Labe...