Dewar’s Finishes A New Blended Scotch In Ex-Illegal Mezcal Barrels

Cask finishing whisk(e)y is mezcal barrels is a relatively new thing in the spirits world. To date we’ve only seen a Pennsylvania craft whiskey distillery and an Irish whiskey brand doing it, though there may well be other examples of it out there. This type of finishing is getting a bigger label behind it now though, with Dewar’s unveiling a new blended Scotch done in this style.

The new Dewar’s Illegal Smooth, according to those behind it, is an eight year old blended Scotch whisky that was first “double aged” and then finished in ex-Illegal Mezcal (a brand) barrels for an unmentioned amount of time. It is said this process resulted in a “pleasant and unexpectedly sweet, smooth blend with a wisp of smoke.” It is the second in the brand’s new cask finished series of whiskies, with the first being one finished in rum barrels.

“We’ve blended our signature recipe of up to 40 single malts and grain whiskies that have laid in casks for at least 8 years, double aged the blend to ensure our distinctive extra smooth Dewar’s profile, and then finished in ex-Ilegal Mezcal casks, sourced from Oaxaca, Mexico, all fulfilled in our ageing warehouses in Glasgow,” said Stephanie Macleod, Master Blender, Dewar’s, in a prepared statement. “Dewar’s Ilegal Smooth’s unique flavor profile features subtle notes of caramel, sliced green pepper and a wisp of smoke – making it an ideal pairing for your next dinner party, or as a spirit to enjoy neat, on the rocks or in highball recipes.”

Dewar's Illegal Smooth

Dewar’s Illegal Smooth (image via Dewar’s)

“Many of the barrels utilized in aging mezcal are used whisky barrels. It’s a nice shift to have our used Ilegal Mezcal barrels crossing borders to age whisky in Scotland.  The finished product is delicious,” added Founder of Ilegal Mezcal, John Rexer.

As it stands now plans call for Dewar’s Illegal Smooth to price around $22 per 750 ml bottle. The brand has provided as well for your consideration a cocktail for a drink called The Toasted Citrus Highball, which is a twist on the classic highball.

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The Toasted Citrus Highball

  • 2 parts Dewar’s Ilegal Smooth
  • 1 part Pink grapefruit juice
  • 2/3 part Fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ part Honey water
  • 4 parts Soda water

Glass: Highball

Garnish: Pink grapefruit slice

Method: Add all liquid ingredients (except soda) to chilled highball glass. Add cubed ice and soda and stir from bottom of glass, and garnish with pink grapefruit slice.