The southern Highlands’ beloved Deanston keeps an established reputation for producing an enjoyable dram through 12 and 18-year expressions of consistent quality. However, they also have a penchant for respectable limited-run releases that pop up from time to time. There’s a Kentucky Cask-matured expression which I hope would appear on the shelves of my local shop here in Kentucky, but that doesn’t seem to be something which will occur in the foreseeable future. So today we tackle what is present: Deanston’s Virgin Oak.
This expression is un-chillfiltered, aged in ex-bourbon casks and finished in virgin oak barrels. No age statement, although if a guess was to be taken, this is an incredibly youthful whisky, 7 or 8 years old at best. There’s plenty of exotic fruit and bright cereal notes on the nose, with a little bit of honey and oak after adding a few drops of water. The palate finds lots of sweetness, with banana and vanilla custard notes prominent, before settling down with a short, dry finish that’s soft on sweetness, heavy on the oak.
With a $40 price tag, it’s worth a try if curiosity compels you to reach for something different, and Deanston loyalists will find plenty to enjoy. It also may work as fine introductory single malt for curiosity seekers looking to take the plunge into virgin oak finishing for the first time.
B- / $40 [BUY IT NOW FROM THE WHISKY EXCHANGE]