Over the past few years, Dewar’s Cask Series has released a handful of barrel-finished whiskies, beginning with Caribbean Smooth (rum casks) and then followed up by Ilegal Smooth (mezcal casks), Portuguese Smooth (port casks), and Japanese Smooth (mizunara casks). Now there’s a fifth offering—French Cask Smooth, which sees Dewar’s eight-year-old scotch whisky finished in Calvados casks sourced from Normandy, France. Bottles will hit shelves this October.
Dewar’s French Cask Smooth begins as a blend of more than 40 single malt and grain whiskies that were aged to maturity before entering the Calvados barrels for an additional six months. Those barrels impart a hint of sweetness and the French spirit’s hallmark notes of baked apples. According to Dewar’s, aromas are complex and sweet, with honey and creme anglaise. The palate brings baked apples, citrus, and a hint of cinnamon.
We don’t love the term “smooth” to describe spirits. Tamping down some of the rough edges is one thing, but in our mind, it’s not a good idea to sacrifice character for smoothness. That said, we found a lot to like in Dewar’s Caribbean Smooth and Portuguese Smooth expressions, and Japanese Smooth also proved interesting, with mizunara-induced notes of spicy sandalwood. Ilegal Smooth was perhaps less successful, but still an interesting dram. So, Dewar’s track record has us paying attention, and we’ll happily give this a shot, too.
You can drink Dewar’s French Cask Smooth neat, on the rocks, or however you like. But the brand suggests mixing it into a fall cocktail, like the Apple Cinnamon Highball below.