header home Backbar Bar Station Recipe Database Month's Feature "Drink-o-pedia" Mixology Contact

Deanston 12 Years Old Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Deanston 12 Years Old
Highland Single Malt
Scotch Whisky


By Robert Plotkin

If you're looking for a genuine handmade, artisanal whisky, look no further than Deanston Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky. It is as authentic as whisky gets. The distillery doesn't even utilize a computer in the production process. There's not a slide rule or spreadsheet in the place. Instead of depending on technology, the process relies entirely on the craftsmanship, experience and intuition of master distiller and blender, Ian MacMillan. It's his job to ensure that each small batch of Deanston whisky exceeds expectations. A quick sniff, sip and swallow are all it takes to fully appreciate how good MacMillan is at his job.

The Deanston Distillery is located in the southeastern Highlands near Doune in Perthshire along the banks of the River Teith. Its malts are handcrafted using organic Scottish barley, yeast and pure, spring-fed water. The whisky is 100% natural and is made without added coloring or chill-filtration, the lack of which leaves the whisky's character entirely intact. After being distilled in copper pot stills, the whisky is matured for 12 years in charred American oak barrels in Deanston's vaulted warehouse. Prior to bottling it is reduced to 46.3% alcohol content (92.6 proof).

Deanston 12 Years Old Malt is a glorious, uncompromised masterpiece that's exceptionally easy to drink. The whisky has a burnished golden hue, a satiny, lightweight body and a generous nose laced with toffee, heather honey, citrus and barley malt. Its wafting aromatics are an enticing prelude to the pleasures to follow. The malt has a broad, delectable palate of caramel, vanilla, honey, spice and cereal. The finish is long, spicy and satisfying. Top notch.

Recently released Deanston Virgin Oak Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky is equally captivating. This award-winning malt starts with whisky aged between 6 to 10 years in ex-bourbon barrels. MacMillan then transfers the whisky to charred, new oak barrels for finishing. These select "virgin" barrels are handmade in Bardstown, Kentucky specifically for Deanston at a family-owned cooperage. After its stay in oak, the whisky is bottled un-chill filtered at 46.3% alcohol content (92.6 proof).

Deanston Virgin Oak is a Highland gem. It has a lustrous golden hue, a sleek lightweight body and the alluring aromas of citrus zest, baking spices, honey, vanilla and toasted oak. It quickly fills the mouth with the flavors of toffee, fruit, spice, malt and vanilla with subtle smoky notes. The long finish is dry, malty and spicy warm.

Both of these Deanston malts are rare and distinct pleasures to drink. That these distinguished malts are reasonably priced only add to the pleasure. Kudos Ian MacMillan.