Even the biggest lovers of Scottish whisky are often surprised to learn that Deanston once began life as a simple cotton mill. As a distillery, it’s been around for over 50 years, but the history of Deanston begins much earlier than that, starting in 1785 when it opened as Deanston Cotton Mill.
To understand the history of the distillery from way back when is to understand this Scottish town’s commitment to craftsmanship, community spirit, and authenticity, something Deanston is revered for to this day. Located on the River Teith, the cotton mill opened up new doors for Scotland, pushing it out of agriculture into the industrialized age.
This stellar location on the riverbank made it ideal for installing a lade and waterwheels to power the mill. At the time, the two wheels, which were affectionately dubbed Samson and Hercules, were among the largest in Europe in 1830, with Hercules spanning of 36 feet high.
Well over a century later though, in 1965, the cotton industry declined and the workforce at the mill petered off before the doors closed. The community wasn’t ready to give up so easily and turned to new ways to use Deanston Mill. In the following years, the mill converted into a distillery while the entire community dug into learning this new craft. Finally, in 1974, the very first bottle of Deanston was produced.
Today, Deanston still remains true to its roots using the handcrafted techniques that they began with when first converting the mill. The distillery values its people and traditions, holding dear the heritage that it came from. It all starts with the beautiful waters from the River Teith which flow over granite. It gives the water a soft quality that’s ideal for making whisky.
The original lade that was used when the distillery was a mill is still used today to help power the turbines. Along with that fresh granite-enriched water, only Scottish malted barley from local farmers is milled into grist. It’s hand-tested to ensure optimum quality before going on to the mash process. When mixed with hot water, the sugars make a sweet liquid that drains down the copper flooring for fermentation, all of it again measured and carefully recorded by hand.
The entire process takes a good 100 hours, which is why Deanston stands out among Scottish whiskies. When it comes to Deanston 2008 Bordeaux Red Wine Cask Matured though, it’s not that any of its other productions aren’t as divine. It’s just that this one is incredibly standout amongst anything else. On the nose, Deanston 2008 Bordeaux Red Wine Cask Matured features robust honey, caramel, and sweet malt with red wine and lovely touches of citrus and spice.
Across the palate, you’re indulged with the flavors of honey, toffee, malt, and richly-sweet grapes. Hints of dark chocolate infused with chili beckon further until the finish, an ultimate payoff of sweetly lingering fruits with a subtle spice. Deanston 2008 Bordeaux Red Wine Cask Matured is an exquisite choice for any tasting, one that reveals the hard-working heritage of Deanston from the onset.