It has not escaped my attention that I have been a bit lax in my reviewing of whisky to pass on my thoughts and recommendations. It was somewhat of a shock to have such a bad experience with the Tomatin 18. I have another bottle from a different batch, so I’ll be able to tell you if my experience was a one off.
The other thing that I am very conscious of is that there is no point in continuous reviews of whiskies that the majority of you may not get a hold of outside the UK, or without going to auction. I will review a few special drams from time to time, but be aware they may only be available in the UK or auction.
Anyway, moving swiftly on, we are going to be trying a whisky that doesn’t have a long history, but is certainly a dram worth trying. And I’m talking about the 12 year old offering from Deanston.
Sitting on the southern edge of the Highland whisky region, 8 miles Deanston started life as a cotton mill designed by Richard Arkwright, the man responsible for starting the factory system and playing a large part of the industrial revolution. The distillery was founded in 1965, and producing in 1967. The first bottlings appeared in 1971. The water source is the River Teith, which used to power the water wheels to drive the mill machinery.
The distillery has a few unusual features. It is a whisky made traditionally, which involves no computers in the process. It uses only Scottish grown barley which has an organic certification and it’s stills feature a boiling ball with the lyne arms (the pipe that carries the spirit from the still) sloping upwards instead of downwards. This will allow more reflux, and therefore give a lighter spirit.
Continuing on environmentally friendly status, this is a distillery that is completely self sufficient for electricity- it has its own hydro electric supply from the River Teith.
The distillery was used as a location for the film The Angels Share, an independently released film made in Scotland which also features Glengoyne and Balblair.
The age statement for this whisky is 12 years old
Light golden colour.
Legs ran quite fast which suggest a lighter spirit.
Very pleasant. I poured then left it to sit for a while before sniffing. I found no smoke, but vanilla, oak, toffee notes with malt lingering in the background.
Bit of a nip from the spirit but opens up nicely to malty goodness with soft vanilla. There is a smooth sweetness with toffee, fruit along with a hint of oak.
For me quite a short finish. Crisp, with a quick blast of spice (cloves?) which fades gently.
Adding water to it smooths the experience out, and I found it highlighted the flavours I had already experienced. The spirit is non-chill filtered, but at 46%+, this shouldn’t be necessary.
Would I buy a full size bottle? Yes, I would. It would probably be a go-to bottle, and certainly one I’d be happy to offer to a guest.
Master Of Malt sell this for £37.90, which for 70cl at 46.3% is good value.
The image of the full size Deanston bottle has been taken from The Whisky Exchange site and is used under fair use.