Meet the Maker: Brendan McCarron

Brendan McCarron, Master Distiller, Deanston Single Malt

Q: Where do you work?

A: Deanston Distillery is located near Doune, and is a distillery established in 1966 in a building that was formerly a cotton mill which had been in operation since the 1700s.

Q: How long have you worked for the company?

A: I joined as Master Distiller in April 2021, having worked in the whisky industry since 2006.

Q: What’s a typical working day like?

A: There isn’t one. My job changes day to day and that’s what makes me love it so much.

Q: Describe the production process

A: Deanston produces a waxy spirit character which is something really unusual in the already unique category that is Scotch. We use a traditional open topped mash tun to create crystal clear worts, that allow us to produce an incredibly fruity beer. When we distil we only have one large collection vessel – the feints charger – for our distillate. As the spirit sits in this feints charger it intensifies and enhances the flavours creating the waxy spirit we know and love as Deanston.

Q: Please provide tasting notes

A: Deanston’s spirit is versatile. It works in all kinds of casks at differing ages so there are too many specific flavours to describe, but we always have that classic waxy orange peel flavour in Deanston, like the garnish on an Old Fashioned. However, Deanston Virgin Oak has a delightfully sweet taste – candied fruits, vanilla and toffee, all balanced with heather honey and a lightly spiced, oaky finish.

Q: What would you say sets your product apart from others?

A: At the risk of sounding repetitive it’s the unique production process and the waxy spirit character that sets us apart.

Q: What one fact should bartenders know about your brand?

A: Deanston Virgin Oak makes the best Old Fashioned, and every Friday our team has Deanston Old Fashioned Fridays.

Q: What’s your favourite part of the job?

A: Its hard to narrow it down. I love being in the distillery and seeing the product run off the still and I also love working on sensory, nosing samples and putting together a new batch, or working on a brand new expression.

Q: What’s your favourite way to drink your product?

A: Mostly neat, but that doesn’t mean I don’t use ice, water or put it into cocktails from time to time.

Q: Who do you admire in the industry and why?

A: Mike Jappy was my mentor when I joined the whisky industry and everything that happened and will happen in my career he has influenced massively. Billy Walker is always at the end of the phone for some advice when I need it. Bill Lumsden is a good friend and I get on great with a lot of the Grants team – Kirsty, Mark, Struan and of course Brian Kinsman.

Q: How do you relax outside of work?

A: I was always into football but I can’t play anymore, so I run sporadically and I love to play golf poorly.

Q: If you could invite anyone for a drink who would you ask, where would you go and what would you drink?

A: I would love to meet LeBron James – I’d love to play golf with him at Gleneagles and drink either Deanston Virgin Oak or Deanston 18 year old afterwards.