Deanston have been making single malt scotch whisky since the mid-late 1960’s, having previously been a mill, they produce their own electricity thanks to the water wheel powered by the River Teith.
They have a lot of experimental cask finishes in their portfolio, with some hefty prices to boot! However, their core range Virgin Oak, 12 year old and this 18 year old are all very reasonably priced and well presented. Although their website indicates the 18 is a limited edition batch release rather than core range.
The website also claims the 18 year old is matured refill bourbon barrels, before being finished in first fill bourbon from Kentucky, although the label only mentions first fill bourbon, and the label is what we go on. It is bottled at 46.3% ABV, with no chill filtering or colour being added. All very positive so far.
Nose : Heaps of candle wax! Did they bottle Clynelish and not tell anybody? If you haven’t come across waxiness in whisky before, it’s more like plain white church candles than those candles in jars that adorn people’s coffee tables these days. Reminds me a lot of school carol services in the local church as a child. It’s those flashbacks that can make whisky such a special experience. Anyway, I digress, let’s get back to the whisky. As well as that wax it is sweet, fragrant and fruity with lots of orange, tropical banana, a deep rich honey, vanilla custard tart sprinkled with nutmeg, crystalised ginger and light oak notes. Very nice!
Palate : There’s that wax again that hits first before it become juicy and fruity with honey, lemon, orange and vanilla creaminess all encompassed in that wax. There is a prickly pepperiness to this, along with ginger, mint, and a good bit of salt towards the end. In the finish we get that salt continuing in the background, along with chopped nuts, vanilla cream and the continued spice.
Conclusions : This is beautiful whisky. At little more than £60 RRP, and often available for even less on a certain controversial, but nevertheless popular rainforest sounding retailer, Deanston 18 is fantastic value for money in today’s market.
It amazes me how often you can taste a whisky, then go and look at the tasting notes on the packaging and think, how did they miss that? The wax is so apparent, but doesn’t get any mention. Perhaps the tasting notes haven’t been updated for some time and it wasn’t noticeable in previous batches? That mix of the wax and fruit is what really does it for me and puts it high on my list of favourite whiskies.
This is fabulous stuff. It is 9/10 whisky all day long, and with the current retail price being so fantastic, it has to be one of the best value for money malts out there right now. Go and buy a bottle!
Score : 9/10
ABV : 46.3%
Non-chill filtered : Yes
Natural Colour : Yes
Maturation : First fill ex-bourbon
Region : Highlands
Colour : Light Gold