Deanston 18 Years Old

Highland single malt scotch whisky

46.3% ABV, £62.95 for 70cl

Score: 86/100

Deanston18

What they say:

Deanston 18YO is first aged in hogshead casks before being finished in first fill Kentucky Bourbon barrels at Deanston Distillery.

The flavour profile is said to be sweet, with honeyed fruit and a “deep, rich finish” of American oak, hints of tobacco and nutmeg.

“Like every malt we produce at Deanston, we’re proud to say that the 18 Year Old is deeply rooted in the history and tradition of the distillery,” said Ian MacMillan, master blender. “Its distinct and robust flavour combinations make it a very accessible dram, one which can be enjoyed both old and new lovers of Deanston Whisky.

“The 18 Year Old reflects the very best that nature, knowledge and patience has to offer.”

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What I say:

As a big fan of Deanston, both the distillery itself and the whisky they produce, I was pretty excited when they announced the release of this 18 Years Old expression as an addition to their core range. I had this bottle on retainer at my local preferred whisky supplier but managed to snag a dram of this at the Edinburgh Whisky Stramash a few weeks ago too. My initial response to this whisky was joy that the Deanston signature was there but enhanced with a little extra ageing and finishing in ex-Bourbon barrels, without over-sweetening the whisky. Needless to say I went ahead with my bottle purchase as it was intended for sharing with friends anyway, plus I would consider stocking this expression as my go to Deanston in my whisky cupboard.

Colour:

Rich amber gold (11/20), quick medium-sized tears leaving medium-fine trails

Nose:

Clotted cream fudge (the good stuff found in Devon or Cornwall when on holiday in the summer), toffee and caramel sauce, olde-fashioned sweetie shops with dolly mixtures, paste candies (dulce de fruta), perfumed beeswax and honey, polished oak wood, brown sugar, maple syrup , condensed milk – and toffee made from it

Taste:

A rich and deep sweetness of toffee and caramel, the fudge returns with clotted cream, honey, a deep rich vanilla essence is present leading to further bourbon-influenced flavours such as brown sugar and maple syrup, developing into chocolate candies or fudge, a light dusting of cinnamon and nutmeg mixed with icing sugar weaves in and out, some old polished oak wood and woody sugars also appear

Finish:

Medium-long, sweet and gently spiced toffee and clotted cream fudge persist

Overall:

A wonderfully rich expression with plenty of body and character. That classic Deanston toffee with 1/2 pound of clotted cream fudge thrown in for good measure, served on an antique oak wood board and presented unchillfiltered to retain maximum character.