Generally, Deanston is regarded as a technically well made whisky, but also a rather bland one. Most of the available releases are bourbon-cask-driven vanilla bombs, or are focused heavily on another type of wood that the whisky matured in. As in, I wouldn’t be able to tell you what the distillery character is.
Of course, that’s not necessarily a bad thing if that happens to be what you like. I tend to prefer a whisky that is a bit more singular, and shows more of a typical note for a distillery, or a provenance if you will.
So, this one popped up last year. I didn’t really expect this one to change all that, but what made it stand out was the fact that a rye whisky cask was used. This doesn’t happen in Scotland, or at least I’m not aware of this. And as you might know, I generally like rye whisky, so when the rye spices get added to a normally rather sweet and vanilla driven single malt, my interest piques.
Let’s see what it’s about, shall we?
A dry coconut-y bourbon cask influence, some vanilla too. After that there’s a massive spiciness. Dry grains, nutmeg, sawdust, black pepper. Some bitter orange pith.
The palate is a tad hot because of the very strong spiciness. Chili heat, black pepper, dry oak. Some orange, vanilla.
The finish is a bit more gentle, warmer with a bit more vanilla. A bit more typical of Deanston.
The rye influence brings a lot of spiciness. Otherwise it’s a typical Deanston, a bit bland. It’s interesting that the cask influence is so noticeable, but that the vanilla comes through in the end.
It makes it a bit more interesting that ‘ye olde 10 year old Deanston’, but it’s a bit less awesome than I expected. There’s a lot of heat from the rye spices, but not much of the orange, mint and other flavors that I tend to associate with the style.