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This sample was kindly donated by @Timp.
Deanston are going about their business quite nicely and I was impressed with their OB 12 and, while not quite as good as the former, the 18 was also very nice. This was given some time in an amontillado sherry cask so it will be interesting to see what that has done to the malty core.
Can be drunk neat but I've added almost half a tsp of water to a 35 ml pour as it definitely improves and opens up.
Nose - delightfully sherried, emphasising nuts, dark chocolate, dark spices and just a hint of something that reminds me of truffel oil. Maybe some orange peel and dried fig in there adding some fruity notes alongside some caramel pennies.
Taste - golden toffee, dark chocolate, more nuts (but toasted), truffel oil (just a hint right at the start), oranges and dried figs. Some charred vanilla pod and pickled ginger add spice and a little bite.
Finish - Quite long with more toasty notes and dark chocolate lingering.
Well, this is pretty damn good whisky and I'm beginning to think all Scotch should have to spend time in an amontillado cask by SWA law, as the ones I've tried have been brilliant! I love nutty notes in a whisky too and this has that in spades. Gorgeous mouth-feel and even that truffle note, which might sound odd, works a treat. You almost feel it's imagined but, no, no it's definitely there and adds a certain funk to what is quite a sweet dram. Yes, one could argue the distillery character is subdued but when it tastes like this, who cares? I concur with @wierdo on this in that it tastes a lot older than 10 years too. A triumph!
Edit - I'm fairy conservative when it comes to pairing food with whisky, tending to stick to one or two known winners, but I felt compelled to try this with some dark chocolate (85%). Wow! Accentuates the nutty and sweeter notes beautifully. Mmmm! I'm also smiling as I have another, fresher sample ready to be opened too! Such is life ...