Deanston 12 years

"A natural whisky that is close to its source, but do not expect something easy"

(Photo from Whiskybase)

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On the banks of the river Teith near Stirling, Deanston has risen from anonymity and become one the distilleries to watch out for. Their focus lies one hand on the closeness to the natural ingredients, while on the other hand various limited releases that were matured in special casks has seen the light. In fact, many of them have become hard sought for collector’s items. The Bordeaux Red Wine Casks edition, for example, belongs to the most visited pages of this very blog, even though I was not the biggest fan of it. Their advance along the ranks of whisky fandom shows that an honest and open attitude next to the respect for the ingredients can bring a distillery a long way. Something that I hope might form an example for other distilleries in Scotland or abroad.

Nose

I directly get feeling that this is a distinctive, maybe even odd, whisky, but on the other side very natural and close to its sources. First smell is rather stuffy, but it directly clear up into a fresh fruity and grainy scent. Lots of sweet warmed up apples with skin, pears on liquor and tinned pineapples. A hint of red fruits in the background, think of strawberries and red berries, but not fresh. Rather in a dried form like in the a good muesli mix. In fact, there is a clear sense of a mix grains. Some lemons in the background. It forms a whole with lots of little subtleties on the same theme, that is fruits and grains. The nose feels perfectly fit for a 12 year old with a good restrained influence of the cask. It tends to become more sour and astringent.

Taste

Again lots of apple skins and pears, but the alcohol is much more present on the palate. More sourness, tangy notes with inca berries, Reine Claude plums and white wine. Lots of sour notes that tend to dominate the mouthfeel. I would not say this is a very comfortable dram that would be fit for any novice taster. Apricots and plums skins, possibly much more of the latter. The aftertaste is pretty long and becomes sweeter with notes of sweeter plums, just ripe apricots and peach skin. Even a hint of fresh pineapple. Also a clear sense of young grain spirit in the beginning of each sip, before it develops into a more mature one. More oat flakes, almonds and white raisins during consecutive sips. Again the long astringent boozy start followed by a slightly sweeter, much fruitier and pleasant development. I do want to take another sip.

Overall

I find this a very honest and well made whisky, in particular on the nose. The palate is slightly out balance in the beginning, but finds itself back during the development. I would not recommend it for any beginning whisky enthusiast, since I imagine that it might be a bit too demanding from some. However, I think Deanston has put itself on the whisky map within a rather short time and will release more interesting whisky the coming years.

What others say

Whiskybase: 81.37 (505 votes) * Ruben @Whiskynotes: 84/100 * @TheWhiskeyWash: 3/5 * Serge Valentin @Whiskyfun: 87/100 * @ScotchNoob: Try before you buy
Read for yourself

Big thanks to for sharing the sample!

Scores

these are my personal views, so do not take them too seriously… nothing beats tasting these for yourself •

Cask influence
35%
Sweet <-> Spicy
60%
  • Inca berries
  • Grains
  • Apple skins
Nose 87%
Taste 86%
Balance 85%
Depth 87%
Finish 87%
Score