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Dewar’s Scratched Cask Another Scotch-Bourbon Crossover

Dewar's Scratched CaskWhy is there a desire amongst Scotch makers, suddenly it seems like, to create whisky which bridges the gap with bourbon like characteristics? We saw this with word of Pernod Ricard’s Barrelhound yesterday, and now joining it in the hybrid category is Dewar’s Scratched Cask.

Now those behind this new release are already saying Scratched Cask “is not a hybrid,” but when you craft a Scotch “in a bourbon style” that sure screams hybrid to me. It is a little like the blended Barrelhound – which got special aging treatment in American Oak casks to create a new, slightly sweeter whisky – but what you have this time around, accoring to Dewar’s,

is a blend of up to 40 carefully selected single malt and single grain whiskies left to mature in oak casks at the brand’s home in Scotland for a minimum of four years. At that point, instead of bottling the blend, the mature liquid is married in handcrafted American oak casks, selected by master blender Stephanie Macleod. These barrels, bourbon and virgin ok, are heavily charred and then lightly scratched at the char layer to alter the flavor of the whisky. The liquid is then left to blend and breathe for additional months, a production process called finishing.

“This is a Scotch produced in a bourbon style,” said MacLeod in a statement. “We always age our blended Scotch whisky, but in this case, the process of scratching the barrels creates a truly exceptional Scotch whisky with distinctive and accessible notes of sweet vanilla, toasted oak, and a hint of spice with a smooth, satisfying finish.”

Scratched Cask, dubbed a limited release by Dewar’s, is available starting this month for around $26. I’ll be very curious to see how this “hybrid” does in the market alongside the Barrelhound and also an upcoming crossover Beam-Suntory offering called Jim Beam Kentucky Dram that we will have more news on as it becomes available.

Nino Kilgore-Marchetti

Nino Kilgore-Marchetti is the former founder of The Whiskey Wash, an award-winning whiskey lifestyle website dedicated to informing and entertaining consumers about whisk(e)y globally. As a whisk(e)y journalist, expert, and judge, he has written extensively about the subject, been interviewed in various media outlets, and provided tasting input on many whiskeys at competitions.

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