Deanston 20 Years Old Oloroso Casks (2015)
I’ve had a sample of a limited edition Deanston for a long time, I just never got around to reviewing it. Matured exclusively in Oloroso casks for 20 years, this was priced just north of 100 euros at the time of release, instantly turning it into a must-have for many.
I contemplated buying a bottle, but decided against it after reading tasting notes that mentioned sulphur. I settled for a sample instead. Turns out, that was a good thing.
Deanston 20 Years Old Oloroso Casks (55.3%, OB, 2015)
Nose: Hello sulphur! Pretty intense. Boiled eggs, but also like struck matches, way too over the top, making it hard to focus on anything else. A hint of cinnamon, somewhat sour, a touch of candy cane.
Luckily it gets a little better with time. Scratch that, my mistake, still very sulphury.
Taste: Damn, the sulphur continues here as well. I might as well stop making tasting notes.
First of all, the presence of sulphur isn’t always an issue. Sometimes it adds a layer of complexity to a whisky, but it always needs to leave room for other flavours and aromas. If sulphur is a supporting player, then yes, a whisky can be sulphured yet very good.
However, that is not at all the case here. This Deanston is riddled with sulphur, which completely ruins the whisky for me. It simply is a big, BIG fault in the whisky, and I would never have released this to market. Good thing I don’t make decisions for Deanston, as this whisky sold like crazy. Goes to show what I know.
It is beyond me that people actually like this type of stuff. Apparently some folk are immune to sulphur, so I can’t blame them really. I wonder what it is like to live in a sulphur free world. Must be pretty cool. Not me though. I can smell and taste sulphur. It’s horrible.
Apologies for that Jim Murray-esque rant.
Photo: Master of Malt
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.