Dimple – or Pinch as it is branded America – is one of the numerous Diageo blended Scotch brands that are overshadowed a bit by Johnnie Walker. Still it has a long tradition as the age statement ‘premium’ blend of John Haig & Co, one of Scotland’s oldest whisky producers. There are 12, 15 and 18 yeard old expressions.
I was lucky enough to get hold of a fairly old bottle of Dimple 12 yo (probably from 1960s) and a rather recent one (but probably not the current version my guess would be late 1990s). Needless to say a head to head comparison is appropriate here:
1960s – 40%
Colour: Bright amber
Nose: Raisins, butterscotch, orange zest, dried banana, candied ginger, nutmeg and pepper.
Palate: Raisins, sweet melon, caramel, orange, banana, hints of nutmeg.
Finish: Rather long, fruity and slightly spicy.
Overall: Not the most complex of drams but nicely drinkable. The general character is light and fruity with a distinct sweetness.
1990s – 40%
Colour: Bright amber, maybe minimally lighter than the oldie
Nose: Raisins, wood polish light caramel, quite weak overall
Palate: Raisins, caramel, vanilla, hints of mild spices.
Finish: Rather short, slightly sweet and slightly fruity.
Overall: It is difficult to detect many flavours in this whisky, it certainly is not bad but the vague sweet fruitiness is not enough to really be enjoyable.
The difference between the old and new Dimple 12 is very striking and in direct comparison the new version pales against the old one, although some similarities remain. Given that I found the same trend with Johnnie Walker Red Label, this result is not surprising. Production methods have changed but consumer tastes have as well. Billy Abbott has wrapped this up in his excellent blog post “Who Decides What We Drink” recently. The consequences are less than delightful.