I’ve said rude things about the Deanston 12—I believe I may have compared it to Gerard Butler. That is also the only Deanston I’ve ever had and so I’m curious to see how representative an experience that was. This, of course, is a single cask (a bourbon hogshead) bottled by Whiskybase for their Archives label.
I’ve had very good luck with Whiskybase’s selections and so I’m hopeful this will be much better than the official bottle. And I’m very grateful for their samples program which allows one to make considered choices*. Though, of course, given the frenzy in the whisky world it’s rarely the case that a bottle you’re interested in will still be available after you’ve tasted the sample. This, however, seems to have been a “controversial” selection, with scores all over the map on Whiskybase, and there are still quite a few bottles available. Is one of those in my future? Let’s see.
*They do seem to have fewer and fewer samples available of late, and fewer interesting ones.
Deanston 15, 1997 (55.8%; Archives; Hogshead 1959; from a purchased sample)
Nose: Starts out yeasty and porridgy but then quite a bit of fruit begins to poke through: lime, tart green apple and something a bit more musky (kiwi?). Very fresh. With more time that musky note seems to be in the melon family and some vanilla emerges alongside it as well. With more time sweeter fruit begins to emerge: cherry? raspberry? A hint of custard too. The sweeter fruit are emphasized with water.
Palate: Starts out with the citrus but there’s a curious note behind it—starts out chalky but then ends up in a bready, malty place with a bit of a bitter (but not metallic) edge. Gets sweeter with time but that bitter edge never quite goes away. With yet more time the citrus comes back again and the bitterness now has to do with lime zest and pepper. With water the citrus expands dramatically and the yeasty, bready thing more or less goes away.
Finish: Medium. That bready edging into bitter thing goes on. Nothing new shows up.
Comments: No world-beater but very pleasant on the nose and quite interesting on the palate (it’s certainly no cookie cutter malt) with that malty note and the general changeability. And I thought water did great things for it. Looking at my review of the Deanston 12 I see that this is clearly related. I got a strong yeasty note off the nose on that one too—this, however, is far more interesting, with more to go with the yeasty/bready notes on the nose—and the palate too is more intense and more fruity.
Rating: 84 points.