Deanston 18-year-old has triumphed in The Whisky Exchange’s annual tasting, taking the top spot in the only official blind whisky judging undertaken by members of the public. Deanston – a Highland distillery housed in an old cotton mill on the banks of the River Teith – claimed the crown in the 8th annual Whisky of the Year blind tasting hosted by specialist spirits retailer, The Whisky Exchange. Deanston’s 18-year-old expression is a delicious fruity, sweet single malt that has been matured in first-fill ex-bourbon casks. Honey, almond butter, apple, Nutella, spiced roast pear, rose water, combine on the palate with Ice Gem biscuits, malt, menthol, tropical fruit, and vanilla – a damn fine drop and well-priced for an 18-year-old at £63.95!
All whiskies in the tasting were under £75 retail price, and all ongoing, commercially available releases. This year’s shortlist included whiskies from the highlands and the islands of Scotland, and one from Wales. The runner up and definitely a strong contender was Glen Moray 18-year-old (£73.75) – a juicy and grippy dram with baked apple, honey, hay, boiled sweets, pear drops, forest floor, aniseed, and cloves.
Others that made the shortlist were the floral and peachy Pendryn (£44.95); the rich, Christmas-y Old Putney 15-year-old (£69.25); a chewy and supremely complex Oban 2006 Distillers Edition (£74.95); and the sherry-driven Mortlach 16-year-old.
Dawn Davies, head buyer at The Whisky Exchange and our gregarious host for the blind tasting, comments:
“I am super excited to see Deanston win this year. It is a really underrated distillery that is producing some great tasting whisky at the moment.”
Gin and Rum of the Year 2022
The Whisky Exchange has also recognised other exceptional bottles, a rum and a gin, nominated by industry experts and staff. The title of Gin of the Year 2022 was given to Height of Arrows Gin (£28.95) from Edinburgh’s Holyrood Distillery. This minimalist gin refocuses the attention on the category’s defining botanical, juniper. The sole botanical is distilled with salt and beeswax for a full-bodied spirit with great depth and complexity.
Doorly’s 14-year-old (£58.95) – a firm favourite of ours – was crowned Rum of the Year 2022. A vivid Barbadian rum from the iconic Foursquare Distillery, Doorly’s 14-year-old is full of ginger, cinder toffee, jammy berries, dark chocolate, preserved orange, charred oak, and echoes of Madeira. It’s a divine sipper to be shared and savoured, so we’re thrilled to see it achieve the top spot (read more about it here)!