Deanston 2001 21yo cask #59 & Deanston 1993 29yo cask #1


Today we’re looking at a few hand fill bottles that were only available at Deanston distillery.

Deanston 2001 21yo cask #59

Region: Highlands

ABV: 53.8%

Price: £210.00

First up is a 2001 vintage Deanston that was matured in a fino cask and bottled in 2022.

Nose

We’re met with dark chocolate foam bananas, along with an earthy, freshly turned soil aroma. We’re finding a fair bit of pepper on the nose, celery, caraway seeds, plum jam and a little blackcurrant too. It’s relatively sweet, some vanilla and cream aromas also appear after some time in the glass. There’s a touch of varnish, like wood glue, but overall it’s quite pleasant to sit and nose.

Palate

The palate opens with more of those chocolate coated foam bananas, a little rough alcohol bite, then a whack of drying fino, moving quickly into a saline solution-led finish. We’re also finding citric acid, some pistachio skins and sawdust. There’s something akin to cola cubes on the finish, but with a lot of the sugar removed. That’s not to say it’s overly dry, it’s just missing a touch of sweetness that we’re looking for.

Nose (with water)

Reduction brings out lemon and artificial sugars, pistachios, along with a creamier nose overall. The water has smoothed out some of those rougher edges and we’re really enjoying it with a few drops added. Some more time in the glass reveals vanilla pods, caramel and desiccated coconut.

Palate (with water)

The reduced palate has a slower ramp up time, but mirrors the unreduced palate pretty closely. Drying fino, vegetation, lemon zest and sawdust. The water has helped to reduce the bite a bit too. We’d recommend adding some water.

Conclusion

The dram has definitely taken on a lot of that drier fino character. The nose showed a lot of promise, but we were missing a lot of sweeter notes on the palate. The finish was a touch short too. If you’re into your fino sherries, this is a good substitute when you want something stronger.

Score: 6/10

Value

Hand fills have gotten very pricey meaning this is reasonable value compared to other options.


Deanston 1993 29yo cask #1

Region: Highlands

ABV: 47.5%

Price: £360.00

Next up a 29 year old bottling that spent 11 years in Bourbon, before being transferred to a Port Pipe for an additional 18 years.

Nose

The nose brings out truckloads of red fruits, raspberries, strawberries, spiced rum, moving into cigar smoke, oxidised vanilla, caramel and honeycomb. We’re blown away with just how lovely this nose is, there’s very little alcohol hit, instead swapped with sweet fruits and oak. Time and air reveals pencil shavings, Caramac bars and orange essence.

Palate

The palate is relatively thick, bringing forward an initial mixture of lemon and orange citrus, sweet iced tea and a little bit of rubber. It’s a little drier as the palate develops, old oak, tobacco and dry leaves. The finish has a good length but is predominantly dark chocolate and spent coffee grounds. It’s drier than we were expecting, we’re not getting many of the fresher fruits we were looking for to balance those richer, syrupy flavours.

Nose (with water)

The reduced nose has some sweet BBQ beef jerky, raspberry compote, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar and some leather appearing right at the end. There’s a herbal-ness appearing too, tree sap and dried autumn leaves. Different from the unreduced nose, but not in a bad way.

Palate (with water)

The reduced palate loses some of that silky mouthfeel, but gains toffee, brown sugar and freshly turned earth and ginger cake. It’s much more in balance now, there’s a suggestion of port at the end of the palate that develops into a longer, sweeter, chocolate-led finish.

Conclusion

An incredible nose that we could sit with for hours. The palate.. just a bit too tired for us. It needed some fresher, sweeter notes to balance out the palate. Slightly disappointing but not a bad whisky by any means. Water greatly improves the palate, but we’re in love with the unreduced nose. A conundrum for sure.

Score: 7/10

Value

Again the price of hand-fills at distilleries that do them aren’t cheap... meaning this isn’t awful.

  • 10 - Perfection. One in a million
  • 9 - Outstanding. Exceptional whisky.
  • 8 - Great. Would seek this out.
  • 7 - Good. Quality whisky.
  • 6 - Above average. Happy to have a dram.
  • 5 - Average. Drinkable whisky.
  • 4 - Below average. Passable.
  • 3 - Flawed. Noticeable negatives.
  • 2 - Defective. Significant faults.
  • 1 - Offensive. Pour it out.

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