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Oban Whisky Distillery

Oban pride themselves on being one of the smallest (46,069 sq feet - second only to Royal Lochnagar), oldest, most traditional and authentic Scotch whisky distilleries. Oban (pronounced “OH-Bin”) is a Gaelic word that means “Little Bay”. The Oban distillery employs a total of only seven staff and produces a modest 670 thousand litres of whisky per year, which is small by today's industrial production standards.

Oban claims that their production methods haven’t changed since 1794 and that they’ve never expanded or moved the distillery. This shows impressive restraint in an age of hyper-expansion across many scotch whisky distilleries. Oban claims that this restraint is all in the name of the authenticity and quality of their whisky.

How is Oban Whisky made?
They claim that 50 hours in the washback would be sufficient to produce the alcohol needed to make their whisky, but they leave it for 110 hours to generate more flavour. This means that they produce less whisky, but it’s worth it for the extra quality of the final product. Likewise, running the stills hotter or faster would speed up the cycle time and produce more output, but that spirit would be “harsher”, which they don’t feel is an acceptable compromise.
Given the small scale—of both the distillery and the team—and traditional production methods of Oban, it’s almost tempting to label them a craft distiller.

Where is the Oban Distillery located?
The Oban distillery sits at sea level on the north-western coast of the Scottish mainland at the northern tip of the Kintyre Peninsula (making Oban a Highland Whisky) in its namesake town of Oban.

Oban whisky is generally held to have a somewhat briny flavour, partly due to its proximity to the sea (only 208 steps!). They are also generally considered on the floral side, with touches of apple. Of course, this varies based on the bottling. You can check out tasting notes for specific products by clicking on them below. Although some of their whisky is sold to other distilleries to be incorporated into blends, Oban themselves only produce single malt Scotch whisky, so don’t expect any zany blends. Oban sometimes experiments with exotic cask finishes, such as the Distillers Edition, which is double matured in Andalusian Montilla Fino sherry casks.

Noteworthy Oban Whiskies
There have been many great whiskies from Oban over the years, but some worth mentioning include: Oban 14 year old. This is the core of the range, and one of our best sellers.
Oban Little Bay. A newer edition at a more accessible price point than the 14 year old, which is very delicious nonetheless.
Oban Reserve Game of Thrones Nights Watch. Now sadly unavailable, a hugely successful collaboration with the highly popular HBO series.
Oban Special Releases. Keep an eye out for the annual drop of special releases from Diageo. There’s always a cracking Oban in the lineup.
Oban Lifeboat Whisky. In the 1990s Oban released a special whisky to raise funds for the RNLI, again speaking to the close relationship Oban has with the sea and seafaring.


Oban whisky price
Whilst some independent bottling and special releases can demand several hundred—even edging north of a thousand pounds in very old and rare bottlings—the core range is reasonably priced at around £50-£70.

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