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Deanston Distillery Visit

Jul 20th, 04:35 PM

Gregor Hannah Pic

Deanston front doors

Visiting Deanston distillery was well overdue for me, considering how close Deanston is to Stirling and I went to Stirling University for four years there was really no excuse.

So three weeks ago I drove up to Doune to visit and I was initially surprised by how urban the Deanston buildings looked in such a rural setting. Facing the wild River Teith and surrounded by a green forest of tall trees with the soft, rolling Stirlingshire hills encompassing the whole view, there sits Deanston since 1785.

Compared to the romantic Daftmill, the Deanston buildings resemble a 1960s office block and a separate 19th Century five story building, together they are an interesting contrast to the natural surroundings. In explanation the office buildings were built in the 1960s and the distillery made use of the 19th century five story building which was previously the Adelphi Cotton Works but it now serves as the perfect place to age Whisky casks as the temperature in the rooms is constant.

Taking me through the tour was the very friendly tour guide Declan, he writes his own blog where you can learn much more about Deanston.  

Deanston have a very good tour, thorough and with enough quirky facts to make the quantitative data easier to digest. For example, the Deanston distillery powers itself - they are self-sufficient because they use water and a generator to create electricity to power the distillery, they only use 25% of it and sell the rest back to the national grid however the interesting bit is that the generator was made by the famous engineer for Aston Martin, Sir David Brown i.e. Aston Martin DB5, DB9, the generator has DB on it to prove he designed it.


Deanston DB generator, can you spot the DB

Moving through the different parts of the distillery was very fun – it was incredible to see the scale of Deanston compared to other smaller distilleries. In just one of Deanston’s rooms of activity you could literally fit an entire mini distillery i.e. their wash back room contained copious amounts of wash back tubs. They have a grand set of stills too, which they are very proud of - one of the distillers was particularly vocal about not touching the Spirit Safe as he just polished it!


Deanston stills and half of the tour guide Declan next to the spirit safe

As with most tours the final part of the walking tour is where you see the cask warehouse and here Deanston was no different from other tours but it was very different from other warehouses. Warehouse 2, the most famous of Deanston’s warehouse, is where the cotton was worked on all those years ago and now it serves as the perfect place to age Whisky, with its high stones ceilings, stretching a wide room filled with an endless sea of casks. You could be forgiven for feeling dizzy at the visual awesomeness of the scene, not least because the amount of alcohol perspiration in the air through the angel share would give you dreamy outlook (by the by, the film Angel Share was filmed at Deanston and there is cask with the cast’s signatures on it).


Inside Deanston Warehouse no2/ Hangar 51 Indiana Jones Raiders of the Lost Ark

An interesting point I was not immediately aware of with a distillery the size of Deanston is the use of blending. As Deanston acquire so many different bourbon casks and as these casks can have varying impacts on the Whisky, creating very unique differences in each Whisky, Deanston have to blend the casks together to get that same ‘Deanston’ flavour profile for their Single Malt releases.

The tour ended in the shop where we all had the opportunity to sample some of the Whisky and before leaving I managed to get that bottle I initially sought out - 59.2%, 10 year old Amontillado Sherry cask. Getting home to uncork the bottle after a full on Friday was just the ticket but the distillery experience all the same was well worth it.


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