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One of the least expensive malts at the LCBO, Deanston is one of those rare cases where we aren't being charged twice what people are paying in the US for a whisky. The information on the label is encouraging: un-chillfiltered, containing only water, barley, and yeast. (Nice to see an ingredients list on the bottle. Shouldn't this be mandatory?) However there is no age statement, and the carton even goes so far as to mention that the bottle is a vatting of young whiskies. Bearing all that in mind, here is what I find when I pour a glass:
Sharp, sweet, grassy aroma. Hints of fruit (from sherry casks?). A touch of smoke but not peat; more like coal smoke, perhaps. Oak is present in the vanilla notes but not nearly as much as you would expect; doesn't exactly scream "bourbon" either.
Flavour starts off mellow but picks up. Kind of tastes like a really robust blend; has that "bit of everything" aspect, without really standing out in any particular area. Warm and spicy, then fruity-sweet. A dried grass/floral element also dances about. Light-bodied. Oak doesn't really play a part until near the end, where the whisky sort of grips the mouth. Finishes gently with a bit of a sour fruit flavour.
Overall a pretty decent whisky, but lacking the fullness and roundness of the more well-aged alternatives at this price. Has quite a mellow profile but still zingy with youth