Launched in July 2021, Dewar’s Japanese Smooth is the fourth iteration in the “Smooth” series, in which the label’s scotch is finished in a variety of casks, including mezcal, Caribbean rum and port. This time, Dewar’s has enlisted Japanese mizunara oak as a finishing vessel for its eight-year-old, double-aged blended scotch.
The whisky pours a light gold in the glass and has a soft, fruity nose with strong honey and a detectable prune-like sweetness, plus floral notes of honeysuckle and light, acidic fruits including peaches and mandarin oranges.
It’s light in body and gentle on the tongue with bright flavors of peach, pear and mandarin orange slices coated with honey. That honey-coated, fruity and floral mellowness carries on to the center where we greet the first stirrings of mizunara: a faint whisper of churchy incense and spicy sandalwood. These are detectable flavors to anyone who’s sought out mizunara, only in a much lighter (though no less enjoyable) form. The sandalwood spice gradually dissipates towards its cereal-forward finish, which grows maltier and sweeter still, leaving just a trace of spice at the conclusion.
Dewar’s Japanese Smooth lives up to the “Smooth” title, but it’s not a snoozy, cruise-control whisky. This one’s alive and kicking, with delightful flavors of fruit and honey at the start and a subtle, satisfying seasoning of mizunara in the middle. While its finish is certainly on the mellow side, I really enjoyed the malty-sweet hit it ended on. Japanese Smooth is a great introduction to mizunara oak—and at an appreciatively accessible price point. But most importantly, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable and easy-drinking scotch.
— 40% ABV