Deanston. Haven’t heard or seen much of this brand since starting this blog, so I decided to grab it when it showed up at the LCBO. We do it so you don’t have to, and in this case you really shouldn’t.
Deanston is owned by Burn Stewart Distillers, who also own Tobermory and Bunnahabhain, neither of which we’ve tried yet. It started off as a cotton mill, converting to whisky in 1965 after suffering a loss of business. They use only Scottish-grown barley and are involved in the organic food movement, with a few expressions being certified organic like the Benromach.
Right on the bottle, they mentioned that the Deanston Virgin Oak is un-chill filtered. I’m not sure if that’s legally the same as non-chill filtered or not – sounds like they did chill filter it, but then they fixed it. Whatever. So what is chill-filtering and why would you do it and why would one care if a whisky was or wasn’t that? Good question, the answer is science. Of course.
Chill filtering is used to remove impurities from an almost-finished whisky. Dropped down to around 0°C, fatty acids, esters and proteins that are by-products of making whisky become slow enough to screen out with a filter. This is done for clarity, because a non-chill filtered whisky can become cloudy if cooled later (in transit or by adding ice). However, some people say that the loss of these compounds reduces the character of the whisky, because you’re filtering out taste-carrying objects, and a cloudy whisky will taste the same as its still-clear twin anyway. We’ve noticed from personal experience that the taste can become unstructured when adding ice, so there may be something to the notion of avoiding chill whisky. Here’s what we thought:
Dan – sweet, caramel, strawberry
Ryan – piney, wheaty
Goran – mild nose, herbal
Simon – young & mild, slight wood
Bowick – light, pleasant
Dan – burn, musty fruit, peat
Ryan – raisins, dried bananas
Goran – walnut, honey, lime, spice with lots of burn
Simon – stings. like smoke, lots of noise, unpleasant
Bowick – strong, spicy, pops in your mouth
Dan – same as neat notes, no burn, apricot
Ryan – n/a
Goran – n/a
Simon – honey sweetness, light fruit, smoother
Bowick – n/a
Try it? No. Buy it? No.