With the prices of Whiskies skyrocketing from the now booming popularity, many who are new to Whisky are left wondering if they should invest in their money in their new found love. The common belief is that the going rate for a good malt starts around average of $50.USD. It’s true in some respects, but not in every case. I don’t know about you, but when I start to take interest in something new, I’m not trying to start at the highest price point. When it comes to distilleries I am not as familiar with, I like to start at their base, and see what they have to offer. For some, that is an easy way to do it without getting yourself stuck with bottles you will later regret purchasing. Personally, I have the gift…. and the curse…of an exceptionally discerning palate, which gives me a bit of “liquid foresight” when it comes to tasting new malts….that and a job that enables me to try everything. For many others, it’s a gamble, unless you have a trusty whisky steward who knows your taste.
I try to make it a point to find the best “Bang for your Buck”. Contrary to popular belief, there are malts out there that Don’t cost an arm and a leg. It brings me pure, unadulterated joy when I find those malts. Malts of exceptional quality, and modest pricing. When I decide to venture into new distillery territory, I make it a point to do a bit of research on them. That can be a double edge sword in a sense, but, it is what it is. Recently, I’ve become acquainted with a really awesome distillery from central Scotland, on the banks of the river Teith. Deanston. The building itself started as a cotton mill a couple hundred years ago, but closed in the mid 1960’s, due to the changing times and economic climate. In 1966, the building was transformed into a distillery. In my opinion, an old cotton mill is the perfect place for a distillery. I have a great deal of respect for these guys and the genius of master distiller, Ian MacMillan. They rely on the traditional methods of distilling, and not relying on any technology in their process. They use their own locally grown organic Scottish barley. They also use recycled and recyclable packaging. It’s one of the many forward thinking and environmentally responsible distilleries out there.
Deanston Virgin Oak:
This is one of those exceptional malts that has rightfully earned every award it been given, including the silver medal at the 2013 and 2014 IWSC competition. It starts off on the nose with a very welcoming and delightful burst of fresh lemony citrus, warm honey, nutmeg, apple and a gentle hint of smoke. I say, it’s a very good start. It hits your palate gracefully. A sweet introduction of toffee, melting into honey, which takes the forefront, while the subtle spices dance to a tune of butter cream, candied fruits, gentle clove, heather honey with a subtle splash vanilla and new oak spice. You can taste the influence of the new oak from the Kentucky bourbon barrel, as the caramel ever so gently settles on the edges of your tongue, bringing together the balance of flavors and the uncompromising character and structure. It’s playful and rich, which are great call signs for a delightful young whisky. The finish is nice and calm but still lively. Much of the oak spice steps up, but is countered with toffee and cream and doesn’t throw off the balance. Sometimes with new oak, you get an over amplified amount of oak spice, which can be overwhelming at times. This one is just right. All the goods in all the right places.
For those looking to venture into something new, I would definitely suggest picking this one up. It is one of the best “Bang for your Buck” malts on the market for under $40.
For more information on the Deanston Distillery, check out their website. http://www.deanstonmalt.com.
Sip smart my friends.