Reviewing the Deanston 12 Year Old and the Deanston 40 Year Old Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky

let’s begin

So, main thing to say here is… er… mmm. That 40 Year Old Deanston is delightful to say the least, so much so that I had to enjoy this sample over a series of very small sips as I wanted to savour it, and seek it out as much as I could.

Seriously. And I’ve not done that with a sample for a while, although I regularly enjoy them in segments so that I can see if my mood or indeed my opinion changes depending on whether I’m sampling in the morning, the evening or after a beast of a day in the office; it all matters.

I will start with the Deanston 12 Year Old, a really good single malt that shows good quality early in a range which can be a rare thing as distilleries look to save the ‘good stuff’ for older variants.

On the nose you get lots of malty notes, the lovely roundness of fresh honey, soft vanilla oak that all develops into an ooze of honeycomb, a lovely oily texture and a more of that malt profile I enjoyed on the nose.

Very well balanced and one I can see becoming one of my new go-to ‘everyday’ whiskies. Impressive for the level in their range.

And now, arguably the main event, the Deanston 40 Year Old

Described by Distell as being “heavily influenced by its past, Deanston Distillery’s close-knit team have handcrafted and nurtured this special single malt using traditional equipment and methods, barley from local farmers and soft water from the River Teith”, and, whilst lovely ‘romance copy’, as we say in the trade, it is a great notion and they have truly delivered a stunning drop here.

Having spent thirty years in refills casks, the spirit was then re-filled into Olorosso sherry butts for the last decade of its life, so essentially a double maturation instead of a finish.

Boy does it deliver a world of flavour, intrigue and happiness.

The spirit is not as dark as I thought it would be, but as we all know that matters not in terms of flavour at this end of the market. The sweetness, the luxurious mouthfeel, the delightful dark winter fruits that are present then the fresh orchard fruits that burst into life in the mouth are all a testament to great spirit, great wood and great cask management.

Whilst I have not held the packaging in my hand, I would like to as it looks stunning; copper detailing, nice wooden box and a wooden cork featuring a recessed Deanston coin. Nice touches as you’ll see in the image.

At £1,000 RSP, it is a bit steep, although for four decades of work and with a big age statement to go with it, I’m going out on one here to say it is bordering on a bargain, and one I would definitely consider picking up.

Tags: DeanstonDeanston 12 Year OldDeanston 40 Year OLdDeanston Distillery


My name is Greg, and I’m a brand strategy consultant, writer, speaker, host and judge specialising in premium spirits. My mission is to experience, share and inspire with everything great about whisky, whiskey, gin, beer and fine dining through my writing, my brand building and my whisky tastings.

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