Quality and innovation are fundamental to the story of Dewar's.
Dewar's founder, John Dewar, was one of the early pioneers of blending, creating a fine blend from about 6 carefully chosen whiskies at a time when blending was in its infancy. John quickly established a name for himself with the creation of quality blended whisky, and founded a bustling Scottish trade for Dewar's in hotels and public houses.
John's son, John Alexander Dewar, inherited the business from his father, and also his desire for quality. He appointed Dewar's first Master Blender, A J Cameron, who became a pioneer of new techniques as he sought to improve further upon the Dewar's blend. He created the White Label blend in 1899, and shortly after revolutionised blending with the introduction of the marrying process.
The marrying process is simple but effective. The blend is first created using a number of different whiskies, then instead of bottling immediately, it is returned to oak casks for a further period of maturation. A J Cameron married the whiskies for the White Label blend according to the regions they came from, so all Speyside malts were married together, all lowland whiskies, and so on. The result was a superior, smooth and perfectly balanced whisky. At a time when malt whiskies could be quite variable in quality and perhaps a little harsh, the marrying process provided a way to smooth out the ragged edges.
Today Dewar's Master Blender, Tom Aitken, is following in the footsteps of A J Cameron, by creating the Dewar's 12, 15, 18 and Signature blends using a similar marrying process.