Review: Dewar’s Japanese Smooth Mizunara Cask Finish 8 Years Old

Review: Dewar’s Japanese Smooth Mizunara Cask Finish 8 Years Old

Dewar’s “Smooth” blended Scotch whisky #4 is here, an obvious addition to the lineup which is finished in Japanese Mizunara oak casks. The whisky carries an 8 year old age statement, but the finishing time is not disclosed.

Let’s give it a try.

Well, I’ve had a lot of Japanese whisky and I’m hard-pressed to find a connection between the category and Dewar’s Japanese Smooth. The nose is heavy with charred oak notes and unexpectedly powerful notes of smoke, fading into a hospital character that offers aromas of camphor, followed by a strange teriyaki beef jerky note.

Instantly weird and hard to pin down, the whisky at least settles down a bit on the palate, while still showcasing its more savory notes, albeit backed up by gentle fruit — pears, lemon peel, golden delicious apples. A slightly plummy character, perhaps an attempted nod to Japan, emerges as the finish approaches, but the dominant flavors that stay behind comprise smoky, toasted cereal notes — lightly sweet, but filtered through the remnants of the chimney, to be sure.

This is a decidedly scattered, and again, quite strange, whisky, and for all of $25 you probably won’t overly regret the investment should the “Mizunara” emblazoned on the label suck you in. That said, it bears zero resemblance to anything actually produced in Japan. I can’t imagine that was the point, but in today’s trying times, who can say?

80 proof.


Dewar's Japanese Smooth Mizunara Cask Finish 8 Years Old




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.


  1. 3DPhil on November 23, 2021 at 6:34 am

    In my opinion, you overrated this whisky. I found an off-putting note in the nose and the palate. I definitely would not recommend this bottle.

  2. spinoneone on December 3, 2021 at 12:09 am

    Suntory began selling “Japanese Whiskey” in Japan in 1929. It was an imitation of Scotch. We all know there are now some excellent Japanese made whiskeys available. Apparently Dewar’s is not one of them.

  3. JW on January 14, 2022 at 3:18 pm

    I whole heartedly disagree with the reviewer. I think this is an excellent whiskey especially considering the price point. While it may not be Japanese in its character it is exceptionally smooth and has a nice honeyed, toffee flavor. I also get the slightest hint of cinnamon from this dram which I typically would not like but when mixed with all the other flavor notes it comes together nicely. A bit sweet but if you like Speyside scotches I think you will like this too.

    • Crazy Dave on February 9, 2023 at 1:58 pm

      I haven’t drank enough Japanese whisky to know how this compares, but like you, I like it. I just opened a bottle and tried it neat, in a Glencairn glass. Very pleasant and drinkable IMO. De gustibus non disputandum est!

  4. D. Sinkler on September 7, 2022 at 5:54 am

    The only connection with Japan is that it’s finished in ‘Japanese Oak,’ or Mizunara. Unfortunately, the label is a bit misleading.

  5. Nux on February 2, 2023 at 5:44 am

    Mizunara oak finish is clearly present. The sandalwood note and smooth light Irish style of whisky is similar to Japanese.

    Japanese (blended) whiskies tend to gravitate towards the softer smoother Irish tripple distilled style.
    I honestly wonder how many Japanese styled whiskies these reviewers have actually tried that can’t find any Japanese influence.

    Very descent entry whisky for the price and definitely a cut above the usual blended bottom shelf scotch. It takes confidence in your own product having the guts to put an 8yo age statement on the label.

    • JC on July 6, 2023 at 12:09 pm

      The sandalwood note is definitely present. I really like this 8-year-old Dewar’s.

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