I'd heard some really good things about Deanston over the last couple of years, and saw the nice, big, fat ABV of this Signatory bottling and decided to give this a shot. I've yet to have a disappointing taste of Signatory (mostly Edradour bottlings) so I trusted them to buy this blind off of FineDrams.
Distilled: June 14, 2007 Bottled: July 23, 2020 Cask #: 900147 Bottle #: 272/625 Cask: 1st Fill Sherry Butt ABV: 65%
This will be neat in a Glencairn, and I want to emphasize this because at 65%, at first I thought it needed some water. I added 3 drops of water to a 2oz pour, and then let another glass sit for about 45min, and the aired out glass without water was the winner for me. So no water in this one. Bottle has been opened for a few weeks and is 90% full.
Nose: We enter the land of fruits and nuts. At first whiff, there are walnuts and pecans glazed in caramel and brown sugar. Then dark cherries and plums join hands and create a melody of dark, malty, fruity goodness. The plums really show up the more you nose it. There is even a floral component kicking around in the background. A lot of things going on here. I expected more overpowering sherry notes, but this is very balanced and complex, albeit very dark and "bass".
Palate: Ah man...This is bold! The flavors siege every part of your mouth. Dark fruits up front. Then there is this malty, burnt brown sugar note. I think it's from the barrel char. I will assume this was a well charred cask. It makes the dark flavors even darker. Leather, tobacco, and cigar boxes dance around and really help compliment the dark fruit syrup. It's 60/40 dark fruit to malty tobacco and brown sugar notes. A really nice combo and really well balanced. Full-bodied. And yes, it is hot and it is BIG! A jolt of whisky superpower!
Finish: The finish is more fruity than the nose and palate as the dark fruit from the sherry take over. I liked the balance of the nose and palate, so the finish, while long lasting, is one dimensional.
Overall: Wow. This is a heavyweight. Big bold flavors. I really appreciate how the sherry doesn't completely take over and there is a complexity here that rivals older whisky. I would go out on a limb and say that the cask had a deeper char than other first fill sherry casks and that's what helped balance everything. I may be completely wrong but that's my guess. Big, bold, complex. Fruity, nutty, malty. A hint of peat smoke would have completed the circle. Glad I took a gamble on this.