New to the distillery’s permanent lineup in 2015, Deanston’s 18 year old expression has more going on than the relatively light and straightforward 12 year old. Note that this is the bourbon cask finished expression — which is finished in first-fill bourbon barrels — and not the more expensive/exotic Cognac cask finished expression.
Here, we find a nose a nose that loads up light smoke elements, a bit of burnt rubber, and ample charred wood influence. Underneath, a bit of mothball and some honey notes don’t give away too many secrets, but stick with it for a few sips… On the palate, Deanston 18 nearly explodes with a melange of flavors, a veritable shotgun blow across the tongue. First, simple grains and some gentle honey notes, then fruit — banana at first, then some citrus. Nutty notes come along to provide a tertiary smattering of flavors, along with a touch of tar as the finish builds.
Deanston doesn’t have a reputation for offering a nuanced drinking experience — if you’ve heard of Deanston at all — but here’s proof of what a difference a few years can make to an otherwise standard and unchallenging malt, eh?