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For many people, single malt scotch brings to mind names like The Macallan, Laphroaig, The Glenlivet, and Glenfiddich. But there’s another name out there that whisky fans should start getting more familiar with—Deanston—especially now that the distillery has dropped a limited-edition Virgin Oak Cask Strength single malt.
Deanston is a Highland distillery that is relatively new to the scotch whisky world, having been transformed from a cotton mill to a whisky maker in 1966, nearly two centuries after it was built. It’s located on the River Teith, which functions as a water source and also powers turbines that generate enough energy to run the entire distillery and have some left over to sell back to the UK’s National Grid. The whisky produced there is un-peated and tends to have notes of honey and citrus on the palate, although this of course varies depending on the expression. The core range includes 12- and 18-year-old single malts, as well as a non-age-statement whisky finished in virgin oak casks for up to a year.
This new expression is a bigger, bolder version of that whisky, released at cask strength of 58.5 percent ABV (117 proof). The whisky was originally matured in ex-bourbon barrels and then given a year-long secondary maturation in virgin American oak casks from Kentucky’s Kelvin Cooperage. Most scotch whisky is aged in used barrels, predominantly ex-bourbon, and the use of virgin oak tends to give the liquid a burst of flavor with notes of oak, vanilla, gentle smoke, and stone fruit. Those are all amplified by the fact that this whisky was not diluted before bottling.
“This release was inspired by the time I spend in the iconic former weaving sheds at Deanston, the perfect place for maturing whisky, nosing, and tasting our Virgin Oak spirit directly from the cask,” said master blender Julieann Fernandez in a statement. “As always with Deanston drams, the waxy character is present and coats the mouth beautifully. At cask strength, we are able to showcase bold and complex flavors of Virgin Oak that are perfectly balanced.” Look for notes of butterscotch, heather honey, and crisp green apple on the palate, with a warm and spicy finish.
Deanston Virgin Oak Cask Strength is non-chill filtered and has no color added. You can find it for sale now at ReserveBar, along with other Deanston whiskies like the excellent new 15 Year Old Tequila Cask Finish.