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Deanston ‘Virgin Oak’ (2016, OB, 46,3%)

One of the latest releases of an under-appreciated distillery, of which we are very fond, mindful of an unexpected stop during our first trip to Scotland. It is a NAS, bourbon matured and finished for a few months in virgin oak barrels. Here it is.

N: enough alcohol to be at 46%; a simple profile, showing a beautiful youth. It is focused without too much frills on “wet cereal”, which in our personal vocabulary means that it tastes like porridge. It does not bear excessive traces of its final aging in virgin barrels, with a light vanilla and notes of fresh wood (sawdust). For the rest, it is a bit spicy, with lots of candied ginger and a touch of cinnamon. Over time a shy yellow fruit (apple chips, we would say) grows; various citrus fruits (orange peel).

P: again a little over the top alcohol. It amplifies the young character (yeasts, lots of porridge again), and also the woodiness (dried fruits, hazelnuts, almonds and fresh oak). The sweetness is a little vague (candies or orange soda), counterpointed by an acidity perhaps a little too dissociated for our tastes and above all unrelated to the overall profile (yogurt). More weird spices (cinnamon and nutmeg).

F: dried nuts, porridge and nutmeg.

We’re sorry to penalize Deanston, because it’s a distillery we’re unmotivatedly fond of, as we said at the beginning: and yet this whisky is frankly modest, simple and sweetish. It’s not boring, since it’s definitely unusual, but we wouldn’t drink a second glass. It’s a matter of taste, but we’ll stop at 76/100.

Recommended soundtrack: SOHN – Hard Liquor.

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