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Day 2 brings us to the Highland distiller Deanston. It was founded in 1785 as a cotton mill, by one of the pioneers of the Industrial Revolution, Richard Arkwright. Not until 1965 was it converted into a distillery, and its first single malt ("Old Bannockburn") was released in 1971. After being mothballed through most of the '80s, it is now owned by Burn Stewart. I have a good review of their Virgin Oak somewhere on this site.
This bottling, like Day 1's, is by Master of Malt (who also created this Whisky Advent Calendar), through their "That Boutique-y Whisky Company" line. These are bottled from small batches, in very limited quantities and are cask-strength (likely non-coloured and non-chill-filtered as well). What makes them especially cool though is their cartoon labelling! This Deanston shows a goofy illustration of a couple of hippies on top of their groovy van watching the stills being unloaded at the distillery. This is from one of only 218 bottles.
The colour is a light straw. On the nose, a gorgeous blend of light honey, buttered toast, sage, mint and dry hay. Absolutely stunning, perfectly Highland. Crisp, clean and slightly floral, with a hint of leather, all enveloped in malty goodness. Water adds some richness with a bit of dark chocolate. A wonderful mingling of sweet and savoury.
On the palate, that crispness is still there - graham wafers, light coffee, dark chocolate, fresh lemon juice. A hint of oak and peat. Bracing, focused, beautifully done. Water brightens things up a bit more, which I wouldn't have imagined possible. I love this!
The finish is gentle but long (and slightly bitter), with some cinnamon, nutmeg, waves of malt and a tiny whiff of smoke. This one is such a surprise and totally blows me away! One of the best malts I've had in months. Jim Murray scored this a whopping 94 - I'll go him a bit better on that. If you live in the UK, Master of Malt still has this bottle in stock - grab it.