Deanston distillery is located on the banks of the river Teith just outside the town of Stirling and on the outskirts of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, owned by the Distell group the distillery was founded back in 1965 and is located within a refurnished weavers / cotton mill believed to have been in operation since 1785, the mill was running for some 180 years before becoming a distillery.
The Mill was designed to run on water power and had its very own river /canal cut from the river Teith in order to supply the water to run the impressive 4 water wheels ( two smaller wheels in the design of the original Adelphi wheels, one larger one named Samson and the fourth named Hercules, was some 36 feet in diameter and was capable of producing some 300 hp.
Hercules was located within a rather impressive building but unfortunately today the wheel is no longer in place although water does still play a very important art in production.. One other factor worth mentioning, when the water cut was dug ( by hand ! ) it only dropped by 1 inch from start to end which you have to admit is rather impressive !!
The site boasts one of the most incredible warehouses in the industry, why ? Well the roofs in this room were designed in order to stop any condensation dripping onto the materials and workers while the weaving was in operation, the cupola roof made from cast iron was insulated with soil in order to keep the temperature up around 80 degrees Fahrenheit or around 26.5 c, and to also help dampen down any noise from the machinery.
With 2 wash stills and 2 spirit stills in operation Deanston has a capacity of producing around 3 million litres of alcohol per year with the majority of this going into blends such as Scottish Leader which is believed to have been created back in the 1800’s by the Ross brothers..
16 Year Old 2002 Organic Oloroso Cask Finish – Deanston
Age.. 16 years
Cask.. Ex Bourbon – 2 years finished in Sherry Butts which held Organic Sherry.
Nose.. Dates, raisins and figs are the initial aromas to burst over the senses but they are soon joined by dark chocolate, coffee and bakewell tart.. Add to this the glorious honey and vanilla notes that are still very evident from the Bourbon maturation side and this glass full of liquid becomes extremely irrespirable..
Palate.. Chocolate and candied orange jump out first and are soon followed by wave’s of honey and toffee notes. Cherries and icing sugar balance out the spices before a liquorice note starts to unravel into ginger biscuits and oak tannings
Finish.. Lingering spices..
Thoughts.. Lets forget the “Organic ” part for a minute as i am not exactly sure that’s overly relevant here and may be a little misleading..
This is a really good finished whisky that exudes flavour from the sherry like its life depended on it.. Its not overly offensive, nor is it intrusive, it is however extremely well balanced, complex and so very enjoyable, it also has that quality to just stop you in your tracks for a split second to look down at the glass, lick your lips and then acknowledge just how well put together this whisky actually is..
Deanston is one of those distilleries that just seem to hit the spot with many whisky drinkers but somehow still seems to be relatively understated and still manages to slip under the radar, ask those serious about whisky if they like Deanston and virtually everyone will answer ” Hell yes, its fantastic whisky” and yet like i said its still underrated..
Sherry dominant whiskies seem to be the “In thing ” at the moment due to those big, in ya face flavours and substantial aromas that remind us all of Christmas and happy times, although in my mind i do think the ” Finished ” or “Second maturation” sherried expressions offer you a far more balanced and interesting whisky, Why ? well they still allow those distillery characters to come through, they show the softer side of sherry matured whiskies off far better! Now don’t get me wrong, i am in no way knocking fully matured sherry whiskies as i bloody love them, but i love them for a whole different reason to those more subtle “finished” expressions..
The “Finished” whiskies that are not just covering up those poor, ineffective casks but have been intentionally programmed for a finish can be absolutely stunning and as todays review shows, they still give us a far more detailed look into the distillery and tell us far more about the journey the spirit has undertaken to get to this point..