Age: 18 years old
The stern brick walls of Deanston are not what most people have in mind when they picture a whisky distillery. And that’s because for most of its life, it wasn’t. The building that now houses Deanston was founded as a cotton mill by none other than Richard Arkwright, one of the fathers of the Industrial Revolution. It wasn’t until 1965 that the building was converted to a distillery by Glasgow blenders Brodie, also owners of Tullibardine. Their initial idea was to use Deanston’s cavernous vaults for maturing whisky, but a good water supply and working turbines made them reconsider. Naturally, most of Deanston’s production disappeared into blends, as was the fate of most distilleries at the time. Deanston fell silent from 1982 until 1990, when it was brought back into production. The distillery is now owned by South African based Distell, which owns other popular distilleries like Bunnahabhain and Tobermory. Despite its unconventional looks, Deanston distillery has made it to the silver screen, being the filming location for the 2012 movie The Angel’s Share.
This 18 year old Deanston was originally matured in second fill casks, before receiving a finishing period in first fill bourbon casks for an extra dose of honey and vanilla. No flashy stuff here, just good old whisky… and nothing wrong with that!
Colour: Old gold
Nose: Rich and plentiful, with vanilla and toffee emanating from the glass. Then a more mellow character takes hold, with scents of ripe orchard fruits, stewed pears and a hint of cloves. Honey and oak round out this inviting array of aromas. Good stuff so far!
Palate: Bold and flavourful, with a full body. Spicy notes take the upper hand, as nutmeg and chillies light up the palate. Oaky flavours give way to another sweet surge of fruits – but of a darker variety this time. Earthy notes round out this pleasant dram, showcasing an autumnal, leafy character.
Finish: Warm and of very good length. Quite spicy, with a lingering aftertaste of tobacco leaves.
Verdict: Deanston 18 is a very solid dram. It doesn’t do anything exciting or unexpected, nor is it particularly suave or sophisticated. And let’s be honest, a bourbon finish even sounds a little dull. Yet this Deanston hits all the right notes, delivering a wealth of classic Highland flavours, along with a satisfying finish. Not bad for a repurposed yarn barn!
Value for money: 🤩🤩🤩