Langatun’s unpeated Old Deer Classic has received something of a makeover since the last time it crossed my path. As well as distinctive decanter style glassware the expression has had its ABV uplifted from 40% to 46% - whilst as far as I can tell, the price has remained largely the same for the retailers who are stocking it. Nice. You’ll still find the 40% edition on the shelves and will also, similarly to the distillery’s other bottlings note a higher ABV ‘Cask Proof’ version – though stocks of this in the UK don’t seem to have been updated to the new bottle design as yet.
Old Deer is triple distilled, fermented with English stout yeast (not a largely common sight) and has been matured in a combination of ex-sherry and ex-chardonnay wine casks. You’ll find, as of writing, just one bottle left at Master of Malt for £52.95
Nose: Fermenting wash, yeasty buns and rolled dough are joined by dried apricots and prunes, whilst chestnuts and a combination of fresh barley and barley water sit with a scattering of currants and a touch of dry parchment paper. Dilution offers greater fruity aromas with redcurrants and raisins alongside French crepes.
Taste: A surprisingly impactful 46% which develops into a real palate wallop. Opening softly with apricot and pineapple, this escalates quickly into chilli and white pepper whilst malt loaf and cream toffee come in support. The back palate has some umami and herbal qualities with gooseberry and vanilla oak joined by chopped chives and earthy mushroom paste. Reduction once again emphasises fruitiness – syrupy tinned fruit salad – considerably more saccharine than at 46%.
Finish: Medium in length with pepperiness alongside dry barley and damp earth.
Langatun Old Deer Classic is a very ingredients-focussed whisky. The malts, yeast and cask choices can all be palpably detected throughout. There’s still some youth and the simplicities that stem from it – but the results are both thought-provoking and quite tasty. The 46% offers much more whack than a 6% uplift would suggest – indeed, on the palate, this is fairly rousing stuff.
Review sample provided by Highfern on behalf of Langatun