I know nothing about Deanston. I even had to look up which region it’s in (the Highlands). It’s owned by the same group that owns Bunnahabhain and Tobermory/Ledaig and is one of a few distilleries that has never been listed as anyone’s favourite (the most Serge has ever given a Deanston is 82 points). In fact, I’m not sure it has an identity or a style as such that I’ve ever read or heard anyone talking about. But somehow it chugs on; if it were an action film star it would be Gerard Butler. Anyway, now that I’ve spent all this time insulting the distillery maybe it’s time I actually taste this 12 yo (which along with the rest of the group’s whiskies got upgraded to 46.3% abv and no chill filtering a few years ago).
Deanston 12 (46.3%; from a sample received in a swap)
Nose: Nothing at all at first and then a sour, yeasty note. After a while, nothing at all and a sour yeasty note. This must be what people who interact with Gerard Butler experience. After a bit the yeasty thing recedes and there’s now some dry, acidic white winey notes and wait, is that acetone? This may be the first time that I’ve marked the presence of acetone as a positive development (not because I like it here, but because something happened). After a lot of time some of that lime and maltiness from the palate make themselves known on the nose. No real change with a drop or two of water.
Palate: Okay, there’s a little more happening here. There’s some lime zest, some mildly prickly wood and some maltiness. With time all these flavours get a little more intense and there’s a little more sweetness too. Seems to get more spirity as it sits. Nothing new with water at first but after a bit the maltiness expands and there’s generally more there there.
Finish: Medium. The notes from the palate hang around for a decent while but there’s no development as such. A slightly metallic note emerges late with water.
Comments: I’m going to upgrade this from Gerard Butler to Sam Worthington (is that an upgrade? I’ve at least liked one film starring Worthington). It’s not very interesting but it has no real flaws. The nose had me thinking this would be in the low 70s but the palate does redeem it (with time and water). Probably a good candidate as a base for home blending.
Rating: 78 points.
Thanks to Patrick for the sample!