Deanston Hand Filled Distillery Exclusive

Located in Stirling, on the steps to the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park, Deanston distillery opened in 1967 on the site of a former cotton mill. Those of you who have seen the film ‘The Angels’ Share‘ may recognise the place, where it was used for the distillery location. Deanston make ‘artisan’ whiskies the traditional way, so this ain’t an industrial powerhouse. That said, it’s still the largest owned by Burn Stewart Distillers Ltd.

The distillery exclusive is aged 10 years, finished in Oloroso sherry casks before being bottled at 58.9%. A bottle costs around £70.

Colour: bronze, hint of orange.

On the nose: now that’s unusual! Hard to say just how much of a soft cheese this reminds me of – definitely some gooey brie. Once that falls away you’re left with some delicious notes of prunes, figs and cherries, and just a hint of violets and barley.

In the mouth: a lot of that follows through from the nose. There’s some tightly packed flavours at first that just need a little while and consideration to flush out. A nice velvety texture, bringing a curious mix of sweet and sour notes: yes, there’s dried fruits galore, those prunes and cherries really coming to the fore, but they’re kind of bound very tightly together with almost a bready, nutty, slightly yeasty (in a good way) flavour. In fact, it’s almost a bit of a French cheese, wine and bread experience in whisky form. It’s a very interesting dram, and not predictable in the slightest.

This is, quite simply, good whisky. Good in the sense that it offers something a little different, and requires picking apart. I’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for more bottles. This dram was a hand-filled distillery exclusive, as the name implies, but not from my hands. Instead it was a sample kindly exchanged by the Whisky Rover, who was lucky enough to tour the facilities at Deanston.


I've written about (and reviewed) whisky for Whisky Magazine, among other publications, and have been a whisky judge for competitions including the World Whiskies Awards. I've done other writing too: several mass market genre novels, a few short stories, including for BBC Radio 4. For my day job (I know, I don't get out much) I work in digital content. Follow me on Instagram.com/maltreview/ or Twitter.com/MaltReview. Generally, my tastes lean towards ex-sherry cask and ex-wine cask influences on the spirit, but I'm not so fussed as long as the whisky's gone into good wood.

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