Brand: Deanston 1997 (Archives - The Fishes of Samoa)
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 15 Years
ABV: 55.8 %
Nose: The Alcohol is quite strong so be sure to give it enough time in the glass to open up. Even so, it's quite Sharp and it certainly differs from your average Highlander Aroma. There is some Heather, Honey and Grass but they remain in the background. I find mostly notes of Malt, Dough, Yeast, Toast and Lager Beer. It must have been an active and well-charred Cask as well because Wood, Vanilla and Wood Spice are certainly present. I also find a little Lemon, some slightly Sour Pineapple, Salted Butter, Nuts, Dried Herbs and some Mineral - and light Metallic notes. Underneath it all I find a light Fruity Note, probably Apple. As I already mentioned above, the Alcohol is not at all integrated and that spoils a lot of the Nosing Fun. It's not really bad on the Nose but it's kinda weird!
Palate: It tastes younger than I would have expected after Nosing. Again, the Alcohol is very present and reminds me a bit of an Alsatian Fruit Liqueur. Quite Sharp, Hot and Spicy with Malt, Beer, Yeast, Dough, Charred Oak, Vanilla, Toffee, Straw, Pear, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, light Menthol, light Licorice and a hint of Yogurt with Berry sauce.
Finish: Short, Dry and Slightly Bitter with Malt, Yeast, Lager Beer, Metal, Salt, Pepper, Nutmeg, Ginger, Dried Herbs, Charred Oak and light Vanilla.
A bit of added Water helps to soften up the Nose. It does become extremely Malty though. It becomes more Fruity on the Palate and the Spices in the Finish are more balanced. In this case I would recommend to add a little Water to the Spirit.
Nose: 21 - Taste: 20.5 - Finish: 20 - Overall: 20.5
General Remarks: The Deanston Distillery was founded in 1965 and is located in Deanston, Pertshire. It closed in 1982 but was bought by Burn Stewart Distillers in 1990 and resumed production in 1991. In 2013 Burn Stewart was sold to the South-African Distell Group. The bulk of the production still disappears in the Scottish Leader Blend. The core Single Malt is the 12 Years that I have reviewed earlier.
The Deanston I am reviewing today was distilled on the 10th of December 1997 and was bottled at Cask Strength on the 28th of October 2013. It matured in a Hogshead with Cask #1959 out of which 327 bottles were commercialised via Indie Whisky Bottler Whiskybase in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Archives is their relatively young own label. This Single Cask Single Malt is uncoloured and not Chill-Filtered. It's still available at Whiskybase and will cost around 60 US Dollars.
Drinking Experience Neat: Different but not bad. The Alcohol is a bit too strong though.
Conclusion: This was not at all a boring Nosing - and Tasting session. It took more than 1,5 hour as well, as the Spirit needed an hour or so in the glass to open up. When it finally did it revealed a Spirit with a mind of its own. On the Nose it's extremely Malty and all the time my mind wandered off to Beer-like Aromas. But there are enough other notes to be found once you manage to deal with the Strong and Sharp Alcohol. And all along there is a slight Metallic note that bothered me from Nose to Finish. Underneath it all there is Fruit and Honey but you'll need to dig for it. On the Palate it is surprisingly young for its age, not unlike a French Eau de Vie Poire. The Finish is Short, Dry and slightly Bitter. When Nosing I felt that the Cask had probably been quite active as Wood and Wood Spice were quite present. But the relative youth of the Spirit on the Palate made me start wondering again. This Deanston is not at all your average Highlander, that's fore sure. Quite interesting to appreciate a sample but too weird to consider buying a full bottle.