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Issue 54 - A forgotten gem (Deanston)

Whisky Magazine Issue 54
March 2006

 

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A forgotten gem (Deanston)

Deanston is the least-known of Perthshire's six remaining distilleries. Ian Buxton visited it

Once, Perthshire was a major distilling centre. One researcher has listed more than 140 distilleries that were active in Scotland's ‘Big Country,' some working well into the 20th century.

Today there are just six. You'd be hard pushed to name them all though.

Aberfeldy, Edradour and Glenturret might come easily to mind, then Blair Athol and the recently reopened Tullibardine, but the sixth is trickier.

It's Deanston, in fact, not a name that is front of mind for even the keenest enthusiast so some background seems in order.

The distillery is actually located on the banks of the River Teith, just outside Doune, itself about five miles to the west of Dunblane. That places it in the south west corner of Perthshire, close to the Trossachs.

Nearby is Doune Castle, best-known today for being the location for much of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Deanston's buildings have been there since 1785, but the distillery itself is relatively modern, dating only from 1965/66 when it was created inside the original structures.

These are worthy of comment in their own right, having originally been a cotton mill designed by Richard Arkwright, the inventor of the spinning frame that caused such distress among Lancashire cotton-workers in the 1760s.

There were additions in 1836 including the still house itself and the extraordinary vaulted weaving shed which is now a maturation warehouse. This seems like an under-appreciated marvel: if you walked into this space in Reims, the room...

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