A stone’s through from the sea, right in the heart of the town of Oban, sits the Oban Distillery. Established in 1794 by two brothers on the site of an old brewery, Oban town grew around the distillery and today, Oban is one of the last few surviving urban distilleries. Oban is part of the Diageo stable and the Oban 14 yo is part of the Diageo Classic Malt Series. It is one of Diageo’s smaller distilleries and uses water from Loch Glenn a’Bhearraidh. But today we are tasting the Oban Distiller’s Edition.
A Highland Distillery, the Oban range of official bottlings available include a 14 yo, an 18 yo and the NAS Oban Little Bay release. The Oban Distiller’s Edition bottling completes the foursome. This single malt Distiller’s Edition is finished in a Montilla Fino sherry cask before bottling. Montilla Fino is a sherry-like, dry fortified wine, matured near the coast of Spain. The coastal character of the wine perfectly enhances the seaside character found in the Oban whisky, at the same time, adding some complexity.
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I got this Oban Distiller’s Edition as a gift from a friend visiting from India. I was not really impressed with the Oban 14 yo. As much as I love the sea, the bitter lemon and old wood character of the 14 yo was underwhelming. I have been hesitant to try the Oban Distiller’s Edition, but the bottle has been staring at me, begging to be tasted, so I decided that, today is the day… lets see if this Oban release can change my mind about the Oban Distillery. The fact that it was aged in Montilla Fino might add that interesting sweeter note, that I like in whisky.
Another reason for choosing this dram on Friday the 10th, is International Scotch Day. It is an initiative launched by Diageo, where the company opened all of its Scottish distillery visitor centers free of charge, as well as the Diageo Archive to the public for the first time. The day they chose is the birthday of Alexander Walker, he of Johnnie Walker fame. #LoveScotch #InternationalScotch
Tasting notes on the Oban Distiller’s Edition Single Malt whisky
Distilled in 1999 and bottled in 2014.
COLOUR: Dark golden colour with hints of polished teak.
NOSE: Sherry, rich dark fruit, raisin fruit cake, hints of nutmeg, marzipan sweetness balanced with bits of vanilla and butterscotch. Bit of an alcohol smell and letting the Distiller’s Edition breath for a few minutes helped to soften the alcohol notes.
PALATE: Smoky hints with oak, cream and pepper spice. A bit of water softens the alcohol burn and makes it a bit sweeter. It is easy drinking, clean and uncomplicated. Not as sweet as the nose suggested, but rich and delicious. Subtle notes of vanilla and bits of salt.
FINISH: Without water, the finish is long and spicy. With some water, the alcohol is softened, but the finish becomes medium length with notes of oak.
What a surprise! This Oban Distiller’s Edition was like a breath of fresh air. That cooling sea breeze that blows down the coast on a hot day filled with salty notes. I am glad that I have a 1L bottle, as we will be pouring this dram quite often. Have you tried it?