Comparing Scotch Giants 100 Pipers Deluxe Vs Dewars White Label
The whisky industry in India is a place with limitless potential, and allows not just domestic but even international brands to compete and thrive exponentially. In this industry, the standard blended Scotch category is the largest contributor to the cumulative Scotch whisky sales.
There are nearly a dozen brands vying for the loyalty of Scotch lovers. 100 Pipers and Dewar’s are two of the many whisky makers currently locking horns with each other. Together 100 Pipers and Dewar’s have sold more than 4 million cases of Scotch whiskies in the past year throughout the world. Both brands have enjoyed a tremendous amount of success in regions where they have managed to consolidate their triumph.
Today, we will be simulating a challenge between two of the world’s biggest makers of blended Scotch whiskies, 100 Pipers and Dewar’s. Before we begin to compare them, we will explore key information about both brands to guide our analysis better.
100 Pipers Deluxe Blended Scotch Whisky
100 Pipers was first made in 1965, but not launched in India until 1995 under the Seagram’s umbrella. Chivas Brothers Master Blender Alan Ballie created the 100 Pipers blend, and it carries no-age-statement. It is an extremely popular brand of Scotch whisky in India, and also happens to be a leading Scotch whisky in Thailand, Venezuela, Spain, Australia and many South American countries. There are two different expressions in the 100 Pipers core range, the Deluxe and the 12 Year Old, which was launched in 1986.
The 100 Pipers brand name was inspired by the legend of Bonnie Prince Charlie, and the 100 Pipers who led his troops into battle in 1745. The brand’s tagline ‘True Legend’ has also been inspired by the ballad of Bonnie Prince Charlie. The saying, “When you taste a good whisky, you head a piper play; and when you taste a truly extraordinary whisky, you can hear a 100 Pipers play” has also been associated with the brand for many years.
Alan Ballie created the 100 Pipers blend by using the Allt a’Bhainne single malt as the fingerprint whisky. Other source whiskies used in the 100 Pipers blend have been gathered from some of Scotland’s finest malt and grain distilleries. It is bottled both in Scotland, the country of its origin, and in locally in India, one of the largest markets for 100 Pipers. Bottling the product locally helps 100 Pipers price their Scotch whisky lower, offering Indian consumers a quality product by avoiding exorbitant duties levied on imported bottled whisky.
Not only is India a crucial market for 100 Pipers, it is the market where 100 Pipers is the bestselling Scotch whisky. Leaving behind its competitors, 100 Pipers recently breached the 1 million cases sales figure in India, and became the first Scotch whisky brand to do so. This momentous achievement shot 100 Pipers to the top of India’s rather modest, but quickly growing Scotch whisky appetite. In addition to India, 100 Pipers is also the ‘No.1 standard whisky’ in Thailand, and the ‘seventh largest blended Scotch whisky worldwide.’
Dewar’s White Label Blended Scotch Whisky
The Dewar’s White Label blend is believed to have been created in 1899 by A.J. Cameron, the first ever Master Blender at John Dewar & Sons. This blend was created a year after the construction of the Aberfeldy distillery was completed, and production had begun.
The White Label blend from Dewar’s used the Aberfeldy single malt as their blueprint whisky, and has continued this practice since 1899. It is believed that the White Label blend is created by blending nearly 40 malt and grain whiskies together.
The Dewar’s family of blended Scotch whisky contains as many as five different expressions, beginning with the standard no-age-statement White Label. The Dewar’s inventory also contains Dewar’s 12 Year Old, Dewar’s 15 Year Old, Dewar’s 18 Year Old and the Dewar’s Signature expression. Master Blender Stephanie Macleod has also created a new series of blends called the ‘Double Double’.
Dewar’s is an especially popular brand in the United States, where the White Label blend has been in high demand since the 1980s. Although the company does sell many different expressions, the White Label forms a substantial chunk of the company’s sales. The Dewar’s brand is one of Scotland’s oldest blended Scotch whiskies, and have successfully sustained their success over many years.
Comparing The Scotch Whisky Giants
Now that we know more about both 100 Pipers Deluxe and Dewar’s White Label, we move towards comparing the two expressions, and brands. We shall be analysing their commercial success, and then conduct a taste test to ascertain which blended Scotch whisky brand emerges triumphant from the two.
First we analyse 100 Pipers, and the brand’s performance in the 16 markets it is sold in. India is at the centre of 100 Pipers strategy since the country is one of their most important markets. Just like the United States is a key market for Dewar’s, India is for 100 Pipers where it recently registered 1 million cases in annual sales. This unprecedented milestone put 100 Pipers over many established Scotch whisky brands such as Teacher’s, Black & White, J&B Rare, VAT 69 and also Dewar’s.
Globally, 100 Pipers has racked up more than 1.5 million cases in sales as of 2019, and Dewar’s on the other hand has more than 2.8 million cases in sales. An interesting observation is that 100 Pipers is sold in fewer markets, and has just two expressions sold under their brand name.
Dewar’s not only has as many as five core expressions in their inventory, but also recently released the Double-Double series alongside the Dewar’s Scratched Cask expression. Other Dewar’s products include a Scotch whisky-based liqueur known as Dewar’s Highlander Honey. There are also exclusive Dewar’s products sold in North America such as Dewar’s Caribbean Smooth among others.
It is time for our taste test, and we shall be giving both whiskies a shot. First we shall be trying the 100 Pipers Deluxe, and we were immediately greeted by its delicately balanced fruity and peaty aromas. A touch of sweetness and caramelized oak rounds off an excellent nose. A gorgeous full-bodied whisky with fruity flavours mingling with the sweetness of honey, vanilla, and soft peaty smoke on the palate. The finish is fragrant with floral and vanilla notes, and absolutely sublime.
Now it is the turn of Dewar’s White Label to undergo the taste test. The nose is fruity, slightly sweet and with hints of freshly cut grass. The palate is sweet too with flavours of creamy vanilla, honey and burnt caramel, with a short, sweet finish to round things off. This is a robust blend, and a very good everyday whisky.
For our verdict of this comparison between 100 Pipers Deluxe and Dewar’s White Label, we declare 100 Pipers Deluxe as the winner. On the basis of sheer numbers, Dewar’s appears to be doing better but when put into context, 100 Pipers outshines it. With a presence in fewer markets, and just two expressions forming their entire core range, 100 Pipers has mounted an impressive challenge.
With the taste test, we found 100 Pipers Deluxe to be a more finished, well-rounded Scotch whisky. It balances the fruity influence with the smoke very well, and the Allt a’Bhainne single malt really shines through. Dewar’s White Label is a classic blend, and has also won numerous awards which makes this comparisons one of our toughest, and closest calls but ultimately, 100 Pipers Deluxe Blended Scotch whisky takes the title.