Deanston 12

Deanston: 12 Year (Scottish Highland Single Malt Whisky:12 Year:  46.3% ABV)

Visual: Gold

Viscosity: Very slow puckering and crawls down the glass.

Nose: Floral. Menthol. Slight oils. Chocolate lime. Heather. Fudge. Rose petals. Sugar coated chocolate egg shells. Water brings out oak and cashew nuts.

Body: Sweet custard front. Fudge. Noticeable alcohol. Chocolate lime. Oak. Light apricot. Bean stalks. Water makes smoother, but still with energy. Honey, cashew nuts and more apricot.

Finish: Lime sweets. Gin air. Milky chocolate/Choc orange. Water adds apricots with sugar dusting on pastry. Cashews. Slightly oily. Mint. Spiced fruits.

Conclusion:  This is a robust whisky with a good range, not showy or glitzy despite the initial fire it brings but, when water is added, soothing. Even with water it feels sturdy and thick, with a slightly oily feel that lets the flavours seep in and slip over the tongue to coat it.

Now, the terms robust and sturdy may leave you thinking that I am about to say that this is a fairly simple whisky, but it is no such thing. While all the flavours are well grounded there is still a large range of them, and that touch higher abv gives much more room for water play.

It is notably sweet, with honey, chocolate lime, custard and other sweet flavours coming out, depending on exactly how warm it is and how much water has been added. This seems odd as those flavours would usually indicate a lighter whisky to me than this is. Similarly the backing which varies from pastry to cashew nuttiness, with floral and menthol around the edges all sound like they should form a whisky that booms outwards. What we get instead is one that settles inwards to a soothing compressed package of flavour. It doesn’t push out but just settles on the tongue and eases in. For that I will say I kind of dig it.

After so many big and bursting whiskies, it is nice to spend some time with one that approaches you at your own pace. There is a lot to find and a lot of room to play. It is like settling down with an old friend and sharing previously unheard tales and histories, and in fact it would be a good whisky to drink at such a time. Robust and reliable.

Background; I don’t know much about this one, I picked up the mini while I was ordering a bottle of whisky for a mate. I hadn’t tried anything from the distillery before so it seemed worth a sample.  It is unchillfiltered, which seems to be quite popular amongst the less well known distilleries these days and it usually bodes well in my experience. Looking online Deanston sounds like a very small distillery, they don’t use computers to track the whisky’s state while it is being made which is interesting.