Recently I blogged about a Port finished whisky that left me cold. After 10 years of maturation and bottling the Glen Scotia just didn’t work for me. For my next article I wanted to look at another Port finished whisky which I do enjoy and highly recommend.
Deanston gets a lot of airtime with me and for good reason. There is little to dislike about their current whiskies. They are all heavy hitters and an easy purchasing decision if found at the airport this summer. This particular bottle here though was a distillery exclusive from a few years ago so is only available at auction. The good news from a quick bit of research though is the hammer price is about the same as what I paid in the distillery shop back in 2017. Before getting into this dram though I wanted to make a shoutout to the first limited edition Deanston I tried last year the 20 year sherry cask which was pretty epic and worth keeping on your radar.
Like it says on the label this is unchill filtered whisky bottled exactly as it should be with a cask strength of 54.2% ABV. All that colour you can see in the bottle is natural as well.
The strapline on the label and recycled cardboard box is
Simple. Handcrafted. Natural
To that end this is whisky which was matured for 16 years in ex-bourbon barrels and then another 4 years in Portpipes. In those simple terms it does seem like whisky maturation is a simple game. Perhaps it is and perhaps it isn’t but I doubt the results will be simple however it definitely is a natural process.
I bought this for £110 which I think is pretty good value although clearly outside a lot of people’s budget it is just where whisky retail prices are just now. Go ask Macallan for a 20 year old cask strength whisky and see where you get for example.
Colour – Mahogany
Nose – Rich and deep raisins and dried fruits. Even with half the bottle drunk the over whelming profile is of port. Definitely a finishing period which has dug deep into the whisky and not hoovering on top.
Palate – More of the dried fruit with some liquorice sweets and a thick texture delivered without any rough edges or bite even given the strength. Time has been a healer on this and the palate starts to bring out the sweet wood notes from the bourbon barrel.
Finish – The finish twists on bitter wood sap and dark chocolate. In terms of length its long and charming.
This is a great whisky and would finish off a special meal or evening. Those dark and rich flavours need time and contemplation to get the most out of the whisky. Of course this is a wood driven whisky and is very port heavy. For me those are all interesting and good aspects but if you prefer something more spirit led then buying a case of the 12 year old might be money better spent.
In terms of money we are always told and indeed I am always saying that you don’t need to spend more to get more. That you don’t need to buy older to get better and you don’t need to finish a whisky in another cask to get more complexity.
This whisky breaks all the rules and shows that while you don’t need to do all those things you can go rogue and get great results. If you compare what we have here to the Glen Scotia this Deanston is twice as expensive and twice as old with a finishing period far longer but for me its twice as good and that has to be the fairest ratio of all.