You might have read this earlier review. In it, I asked for tips to finally find one exceptional Deanston. Because I hadn’t experienced it yet. I’m glad to report that has changed. A Deanston 2012 10 Years was recently bottled for WTF Utrecht, one of the best drinks festivals in the Netherlands. Oh – and spoiler alert – it is excellent.
To me, Deanston is a kind of under-the-radar distillery. It has all these limited releases that kind of obstruct the view of the core range, which is very modest to begin with. Its two sister distilleries, Bunnahabhain and Tobermory, have a (much) higher profile.
But I’ve also heard people mentioning Deanston as a distillery that can produce a more old-school, even waxy style of spirit. The open-topped mash tun, long fermentation, slow distillation and low gravity worts all support this new make style. So, I’ve been looking for a Deanston that fits this description. And I think I’ve finally found one.
Interestingly, the Deanston 2012 10 Years for WTF Utrecht isn’t bottled at cask strength. Originally it hovered near 60%, but it’s been reduced to a more palatable 51%. It reportedly was a much more overwhelming, closed whisky at cask strength.
Deanston 2012 10 Years (51%, WTF Utrecht, C#309)
Nose: Opening up on porridge, muesli and bready notes, alongside some classic notes of chalk, lemon and a few freshly cut apples. And let’s not forget about the waxier notes here as well, which are always such a treat. Finally some rhubarb, gentle hops and bananas. Taste: A perfect mixture of cereals, bread, nuts and vibrant citrus fruits, supported by a wonderful waxy mouthfeel and very gentle spices. And always some earthy aniseed lingering in the background. The alcohol percentage is absolutely spot on. Finish: Medium length. And more of the above. Chalk makes an encore. So does the maltiness.
I suppose this is what Deanston can also be. Just a very traditional, barley-forward, almost old-school whisky that's so dangerously drinkable as well. Now I just want to taste more Deanston. Something has been awakened in me...