I don't remember when I bought the Dewar's Special Reserve 12 y.o. in my liquor cabinet.* I probably bought it because it was on sale and I was out of blended Scotch that day.
More to the point, I don't remember reaching for the bottle often enough to nearly empty it. I guess I had more hot Scotches and lemons last winter than I thought.
I do remember ordering a Dewar's White Label neat a few weeks ago, and not caring for it at all. If that's what people think of when they think of Scotch, I can't blame them for drinking something else.
The Special Reserve is a much nicer whisky, and would give newcomers to Scotch a better chance of sticking with it. The nose, while a little flat, has a fruity sweetness, and water opens up the honey that Dewar's considers to be one of its distinctive notes. The honey carries through on the palate, along with some oak, though the overall flavor is not particularly complex. The finish is peppery and ends with tobacco ash.
This is a decent, relatively simple blend I prefer using in mixed drinks, and the occasional no-frills Scotch on the rocks.
* As far as I can tell, Dewar's first released Dewar's Special Reserve at 43% abv, then changed the name to "Dewar's 12 Year-Old Special Reserve," then dropped the abv to 40%, then dropped the "Special Reserve." Now it's simply Dewar's 12 Year Old (though note the link). Somewhere along the way they also changed the copy from talking about "marrying" blended malts in oak casks to talking about "double-ageing" them.