A rising star of the whisky world, Deanston distillery produces richly fruity spirit with a distinctive waxiness on the palate. This complex, textural profile is highly sought-after by fans of old-school Highland malts and has helped Deanston to find a new audience in recent years.
In 2022, the flagship Deanston 18 Year Old was named The Whisky Exchange Whisky of the Year, seeing off stiff competition from some of the industry’s biggest names. The expressions below showcase different facets of this once-overlooked distillery’s character, from the bright, fruity 12-year-old to the warm and spicy Deanston Virgin Oak.
A no-age-statement whisky from Deanston bottled at 46.3%. This one is made up of young whisky which is decanted into new American oak casks for its final stages of maturation.
Heady virgin oak bursting with lemon zest and sweet barley sugar with delicious notes of apple and nutmeg.
A delightful sweetness evoking memories of candied fruits and vanilla toffee balanced with heather honey.
A satisfying light spice with a rewarding burst of honeyed malt and sweet oakiness.
Deanston's single malt, famous as the whisky used in the much-missed Wallace whisky liqueur. Trivia snitched from the Malt Whisky Yearbook: Deanston is the only distillery in Scotland that is self-sustaining for electricity, being equipped with a dam and a turbine.
Fresh hays of summer, malty cereal, rich creamy toffee and honeyed heather balanced with sweet oak and barley sugar.
Smooth creamy sweetness with sumptuous hints of fruit, malty honeyed spiciness and soft vanilla.
Crisp and satisfying with a tingle of cloves which linger, then gently fade.
Our Whisky of the Year for 2022, this 18-year-old Highland malt is matured entirely in first-fill Bourbon casks, dialling up Deanston’s trademark tropical fruit and honey character to eleven and reinforcing it with rich American oak notes of butter and vanilla. Fantastic stuff.
Well-balanced toffee and zingy lemons are joined by notes of biscuits and patisserie – shortbread and Danish pastries. Malty notes build but are balanced by candied citrus, sharp fresh and sweet baked apples with a dusting of cinnamon sugar. Fruit pushes through middle: sultanas and pears, with a pinch of nutmeg and cherry hints.
Creamy with the toffee and biscuits from the nose. The toffee quickly turns fruity, bring back rich stewed apple sauce – both sour and sweet – with plump sultanas and slightly unripe pears. Aniseed-ball heat builds, followed by vanilla shortbread rolled in cinnamon sugar.
Apple peel and lemon zest fade to leave spiced shortbread, apple pips and almonds.
The first stills were installed at the old Deanston mill in the 1960s, in a move to bring industry back to the grand site on the River Teith. Its first single malt came to market in 1971, but for much of the ensuing decades the distillery dutifully filled casks for blenders, one of the great workhorses of the Scottish Highlands.
It was only in the 21st century that Deanston began to find widespread recognition. A new range of whiskies launched in 2009 showcased its honeyed, fruity character with higher-proof releases bottled without chill-filtration. The Deanston 18 Year Old’s decisive win at our Whisky of the Year 2022 tasting cemented this highlander’s position as a serious distillery producing top-quality single malt.