While in the UK recently I did manage some relaxation times, one of those was when my brother-in-law brought out a bottle of Oban 14YO. In style it fits neatly between the Smokey island malts and the lighter sweeter highland ones, so it’s a good social drop.
The distillery is in its namesake town of Oban, which is a ferry and rail terminal. It’s a beautiful location with the distillery right in the centre of town, immediately below Mc Caig’s Tower, which is a folly to Greco-roman architecture. In taking the short walk up to the tower one discovers civic gardens and a stunning view across the bay.
We arrived in town at lunch time, an hour before our booked tour, so we had a pint and haggis pakoras in the local pub. Oban distillery is small with only 2 stills, but is now owned by multinational liquor giant Diageo. This becomes apparent when one starts the tour with a corporate video. Now I have nothing against videos, but I did not travel half way around the world to watch one on the distillery, I wanted the full experience. The tour was also managed to within an inch of its life, but I enjoyed the tasting.
The 14YO is finished in Sherry casks so has a fruity nose. The initial pallet is light, but builds up in the mouth to a big smoky finish. It’s a fine whisky stacked full of character, just like the town.