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Since 2009, Deanston is no longer chill filtered and bottled at a strength of 46,3% ABV. This was not always the case. Today, I will be trying two older versions of the Deanston 12 Year Old. One from 1990, the other from 2007, both bottled at 40% ABV. To allow easy reading, I will refer to them as D1 (the ‘old’ bottle) and D2 (the 2007 version).
The nose of D1 is all vanilla, caramel and cereal. Very sweet. Some flowers and even a trace of smoke. But also slightly bitter on wood shavings and dried grass. Some fruit à la sultanas. D2 is less influenced by the oak, but as sweet as the first one. Luckily it has a little more fruit, like oranges and apricots. Mild spices and some nuttiness as well. D1 loses on the nose, but D2 must not start cheering, for both whiskies are very soft and one-dimensional. Actually, downright boring.
The palate is, unfortunately, a letdown as well. D1 is a little fruitier now, admittedly, also a little more feisty thanks to some spices, but it remains light, bitter and dry. D2 has a little more body, slightly oily, but suffers the same fate: dry and bitter. Some cinnamon and Granny Smith apples and a hint of salt, make it slightly more interesting than D1, but it is still a lightweight.
The finish is short and dry for D1, long and dry for D2.
Well. I’ll save myself the trouble of trying any new Deanston anytime soon, for these two could not convince me in the least. I can imagine it is creamier and sturdier at 46,3%, but if it continues on the same palette of flavours, then this is no dram for me. Most of the production goes into the blend Scottish Leader. Maybe that is not such a bad thing.
76/100 vs 79/100