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Deanston Distillery
Picture: Deanston
Location: Doune, Perthshire
Roads: On south bank of River Teith two miles from Doune
Hours: Closed to visitors
Phone: 01786-841422

Text from The Whisky Trails, Copyright © Gordon Brown 1993:

Doune is an interesting little place. It is famous in today’s antiques world for its 17th-century pistols, a local industry that specifically served cattle-drovers since the town was a thriving cattle market at the time. Doune Castle is a well-preserved example of the need in 14th-century Scotland to combine military and domestic elements in the same buildings. The comedy movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail was shot here. As was The Bruce, in 1996.

Whisky, too, has an interesting historical connection at Doune. The distillery building was designed by Richard Arkwright, the inventor of the spinning frame that caused riots and redundancy among Lancashire cotton-workers in the 1760s.

The Arkwright cotton mill that Highland Deanston distillery occupies was built in 1785 but much of the structural work was added later in 1836. This includes the extraordinary vaulted weaving shed which is now a maturation warehouse. The conversion to distillation was carried out in 1966 and included taking out four internal floors to accommodate the stills and other machinery. The distillery was silent from 1982 but changed hands and is now back in production again through an independent firm, Burn Stewart. They have already won export achievement and company-turnaround awards so the future looks bright. An interesting aspect is the use of water-powered turbines as the energy source, something that was a familiar sight to those working Scotland’s distilleries a century ago.

There are two pairs of stills which have quite narrow necks with ball-shaped bulges and slightly upward sloping Lyne arms to give lighter spirit through reflux. The enclosed, riverside warehouses, including one that lies beneath a garden, give excellent conditions of constant humidity and temperature for ageing malt whisky.

The Whisky
Text from The Whisky Trails, Copyright © Gordon Brown 1993:

Deanston is elegant, sweet and smooth. The main flavours are herby maltiness and pert fruit with a fringe of faint smoke from the lightly peated malt. Lissom, easy, pleasing finish. A new Deanston will soon be launched as a 5-year old old. There are 12, 17 and 25-year-old editions from the proprietors although, since the company only recently came into being, these distillations were made by the previous owners. It remains to be seen if the style of the self whisky evolves differently in the years to come. There is also some 14-year-old Deanston available from private bottlers.

Source of water
Teith river
Of interest
Text from The Whisky Trails, Copyright © Gordon Brown 1993:

• The Tailor’s Bridge over the Teith dates from 1535 and commemorates a rich man’s vindictiveness to the ferryman who worked the crossing-point. A traveller, who was tailor to King James IV, wanted to underpay the ferryman who, predictably, refused to transport him. To gain revenge, the tailor paid for the bridge to be built so that he would be forced out of business.

Picture: Elephants near Deanston
The elephant seem syrprisingly at home in the grounds of Blair Drummond Safari Park
Blair Drummond Safari Park has a good drive-through live-animal habitat; check that you have some spare windscreen wipers in the boot before you go!

• Doune Motor Museum is part of the Doune Castle complex.

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