By Kurt Maitland
There is no Glen Deveron Distillery… or maybe there is. This relatively young distillery has been alternately called Macduff or Glen Deveron more than a few times each. Regardless of the name, that is the home of The Deveron release we review today. The Deveron is one of Dewar’s “Last Great Malts” series, showcasing five of the single malts that make up the malt whisky side of Dewar’s blends. This 18 year old is bottled at 40% ABV.
The look here is reddish gold, a look not quite quite red enough for likening to a new copper penny. The nose on this is pretty solid. My fresh pour definitely made its presence known in my room. The scent is a blend of cut apple (right when oxygenation kicks in), with hints of semi-sweet caramel and baking spices and bitter chocolate.
It’s chocolate and apples on the palate, with a mouthfeel that is medium bodied and somewhat astringent, while maintaining some creaminess.. The nose doesn’t lie on this release but there is a touch more bitterness (think that copper penny again) that reveals itself in the strangest places. First time I encountered it, it flared up in the middle palate, other times it seemed like it was lurking in the finish. As I had just opened it, it might have been “opening night jitters” as with follow-up tastes the bitterness has mellowed to semi-sweet creamy chocolate.
The finish on this release is longer than I expected. It turns peppery/spicy at the end and holds your attention longer than an 80-proof whisky should.
Some water evens this release out and gets the bitter aspect under control. Breaking it gets this Deveron to dark chocolate/milk shake territory but with the relatively low proof there is a price you pay as you reduce the alcohol in this release a little further.
It’s not a complex release, but it does have its charms. I can see why this is a core component of blends. It’s got the flexibility you’d want when making a whisky. Sweetness, spice, etc. It would have been nice to see this at a slightly higher proof.
The prices range from $80 to $120 in the US. For an 18-year-old single malt release, that is a decent price. That puts it close to The Glenmorangie 18 and well below The Macallan 18. It’s not as balanced as those whiskies but it’s also cheaper and that has charms all its own.