When thinking, and asked, about the Dewars brand I’m often left wondering what they stand for and who their customer really is. Don’t get me wrong, I really love the Dewars 35 year old but that is pitched in very differently to the Dewars White Label that the majority of punters will enjoy.
Bizarrely, the trigger for this post was going on holiday.
Anyone who knows me will know that I work harder when on holiday as that’s the time I get off from building my client’s brands and where I can focus my mind on the things that have been bugging me for ages, as well as being able to take time to work on my other business goals and initiatives.
Anyway, that’s probably quite dull, so here’s where my thoughts netted out whilst flying.
There’s a strange feeling that accompanies anyone who travels Premium Economy, you’re no longer in ‘gen pop’ but you haven’t quite graduated to the Champions League (those reading from the States, think Major Leagues). It is important to note here that although my passions; whisky, fine dining and decent living are enjoyed to the best of my abilities, typically I will not bother trading up when I fly as I don’t really see the need.
This time was different, this was a long weekend in NYC I had bought my fiancé for Christmas. And why not.
Anyway, that may seem like a bit of a random tangent but, in my world as a brand builder, it is these brand touchpoints that make you think and appreciate all the thinking and work that goes behind such complex brands that have to stand differentiated in a world driven by taste over brand.
So, as I was being served my first drink whilst sat in Virgin Atlantic’s Premium Economy section, I watched as most ahead of me requested lager or orange juice them I gently asked what whiskies they had.
“Sorry Sir, we only have Dewars, it’s a blend, similar to Scotch”
Trying not to be a pedant I decided not to explain the mechanics of blends, singles and Scotch and instead requested one. Promptly I was asked to say ‘when’.
Now, we have all been in the ‘say when’ situation, typically at home or at work but on a jet? Being that the comment was caveated with ‘I don’t know anything about whisky’ I let her off and, like any gentleman would, said ‘when’ at around the triple measure mark.
I should probably state now that I had never tried Dewars White Label before and, without doubt, will drink it again.
There was a lovely sessionability to it.
Soft, almost silky sips behind a liquid with such complexities that it actually was tough to define in typical whisky terms. Here’s where I let you know I had about fifteen further Dewars White Label tipples, and all were enjoyable.
What made the link between the brand and Premium Economy grow ever increasingly was the sense of a nomadic proposition.
For Premium Economy folk you’re in that weird halfway house between generic and hero, and for Dewars White Label they have managed to position themselves above the masses yet nowhere near the big time.
Maybe that is a deliberate ploy, I will never know, but if their latest packaging refresh is anything to go by then they are trying, as they always have done, to step up to the A-list.
This post is less a review or a thought piece but more of a comment on how a really famous, revered and quietly brilliant whisky lives and breathes in a world full of grey areas and unknowns.
Also published on Medium.