The Scotch industry might be centuries old, but they are always coming up with new ways to keep whisky drinkers on our feet.
Mezcal and Whisky
It might not sound like the perfect combination but there has been a surge in whiskies matured or finished in tequila casks. Mezcal appears to be the most popular, with brands like JJ Correy, Chapel Gate (both Irish whisky brands) and the legendary Chivas Regal, all using mezcal or tequila casks to mature their malt. On the flip side, tequila brand Don Julio has created the Reposado Double Cask Lagavulin Aged Edition, which is a tequila aged in a Lagavulin cask.
This is a really interesting time for the whisky industry, as brands are pushing the boat out to try new things. As well as using different types of finishing casks, they are also using different woods (take a look at Method & Madness for some great examples) and different ways of making whisky.
Dewar’s Ilegal Smooth 8 Year Old Blend
Dewar’s were the first Scotch brand to use Mezcal casks in the maturation process with their Ilegal Smooth, an 8 year old blend that has been finished in mezcal casks. These have been sourced from Illegal Mezcal, based in Tequila haven Oaxaca in Mexico.
This is a really exciting release from the brand, who have been around since 1846. They are leading the innovation revolution in the whisky industry and we are very glad they are.
Tasting notes for Dear’s Illegal Smooth Mezcal Finished 8 Year Old Blended Scotch Whisky
The nose begins with well developed notes of fresh herbs, green fruits and a hint of smoke. The mezcal has given the whisky an excellently refreshing edge. There are flavours here like peppers, coriander and menthol that don’t often make it into Scotch.
One the palate the more typical whisky notes come out. There are lots of caramels, oak wood and fruit flavours. The mezcal beings in some added smoky notes and gives the flavour a real kick. There are more herbs, orchard notes and dew covered grass as well.
The finish is crisp and smooth, with hints of spice and smoke.
The blend is well developed and rounds off nicely, having been matured to the perfect point. The mezcal notes are not overwhelming but work with the whisky flavours. We can’t wait to see what else is to come from Dewar’s!
What are your thoughts on innovation in the whisky industry? Let us know in the comments!