The Deveron (12 year)

I’m just going to apologize in advance for this. Sometimes a week goes by in which one has managed to not consume an interesting, exciting, or controversial single malt to tell the world about. During such weeks, it’s my wont to dig into the “archives” (by which I mean my scrap bin) to drag out some scribbles on a malt that nobody cares about, and that everyone will continue not caring about once I’ve had my say.

The Deveron is a line of single malts produced at the Macduff distillery in Speyside. The name “Macduff” appears on independent bottlings, while variations on “Deveron” are used for official releases. Why? I’m too apathetic about this malt to find out. Probably it doesn’t matter. At some point in the hazy last few years the owners of Macduff distillery (John Dewar & Co. which is in turn owned by Bacardi) rebranded the official line from “Glen Deveron” to “The Deveron” and relaunched a core range at ages 10, 12, 18, and mumblemumble. Why drop the “Glen”? Again, no idea.

The distillery uses a combination of sherry and ex-bourbon casks for its Deveron malts, and bottles at the watery anemic abhorrent standard minimum strength of 40% ABV.

Nose: Vanilla. Blanched almonds (or marzipan), rosewater, nougat, and a faint cherry compote. Red delicious apple skins. The aroma is quite shy – the above all has to be coaxed out of the glass. A rest in the glass does not seem to alter anything.

Palate: Moderate body, almost but not quite syrupy. Barky, with a bunch of weirdly bitter cork notes, verging on fungal. Brown sugar, marzipan, maple sugar candies, thin pale malt.

Finish: On the short side. Still bitter, with some oaky tannins and not much else. Fades quickly without evolving.

With Water: A few drops of water increases the nose tickle but doesn’t add any new notes. Water not needed here.

Overall: Reticent and inaccessible from aroma to finish. The aroma is unusual among Speyside malts, with few fruits and flowers, but there’s so little of it that it’s hard to care. The palate is bland and frankly a little weird, and the finish is short and adds nothing new. I find myself with no desire for a second glass.

ScotchNoob™ Mark:

About The Distillery

A Speysider owned by Bacardi and often bottled as Glen Deveron or “The Deveron”. It was built during the whisky boom of the 1960s to capitalize on expanded demand for Scotch. The modern facility is outfitted with relatively high-tech equipment, but remains largely unknown as a single-malt. A large percentage of its production goes into the William Lawson’s blend.
The Deveron (12 year)
40% ABV
ScotchNoob™ Mark:
Price Range: $38-$55
Acquired: (30ml sample bottle) Master of Malt.

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  • Hi there,
    Bacardi started out well when they released their neglected 4 other single malts together with Aberfeldy as “The Last Great Malts” some years ago. They released a range of Craigellachies and Aultmores at 46% under that meta-label and that was a stroke of genius. So good. All of them. Pricey but good.
    Then they re-launched the Aberfeldy range as well in the black tubes and thereby fell back into the bad habit of 40% bottlings. In the wake of this Royal Brackla and the new Deverons fell victim to the same folly. A missed opportunity for Bacardi.
    But there is hope. The Royal Bracklas have been re-launched as 46% versions already and there is hope the Deverons will follow. Dare I dream of the Aberfeldy… afraid not.

  • I completely agree with kallaskander. Craigellachie and Aultmore are both fantastic. Aberfeldy would be worth revisiting at 46% abv. I actually want to try Royal Brackla now. I was recently talking to a manager/buyer at the Total Wine where I shop and he told me that they still sell more Glenlivet and Glefiddich than any other single malt. I think that many American liquor stores will tell you a similar story, and as long as that is the case a lot of producers will continue to feel like they can get away with 40%.