I must admit, that I don't actually like it very much. My rating is more of a nod of the head for the quality and execution. I've visited the distillery and had a dram straight from the cask from a 12 year old Oban and it was nice, so I bought a little bottle, much to the consternation of the missus....
If you ever hear someone talk with reverence from Scottish Single Malts and recite the usual clichés about complexity, delicacy, depth and breadth of flavours you might get the idea to give it a try. For a perfect example, look no further. I bought a 20 cl bottle, and while at the end it has gone slightly flat and dull I must admit I am blown away by this whisky. I simply cannot begin to describe the extraordinary depth that is in this liquid.
As it is known, Oban has very long distillation - close to 120 hours, which gives it an estery quality and a special scent and flavour sometimes reminiscent of fruit peels. They also treat their spirit very delicately, they don't use first fill casks, so as not to overpower the original taste. Casks should only make a contribution, not dominate. The malt they use is peated to 1 PPM, which is very very light, but it's still there. Also becasue of the maturation and/or because the distillation takes place on the coast, there is some sea salt detectable in the whisky. All in all if you drink this whisky several times you will find the results of all the above influences and more. I remember, when I opened the bottle I found the whisky too peaty, somehow just being off for my nose. Then as it decanted and mellowed I could find the orange peels and the peat was a bit more manageable. Then I tasted it and I felt the bourbon cask at the start, but then it turned salty and then with every sip the salt aftertaste was stronger and stronger, until eventually it felt like when as a child an ocean wave hit me in the face and the salty water went up my nose. The sensation reminded me of that exact experience. I actually thought I made a mistake buying it in the first place. Next time I drank it, the peat was very subdued and so was the salt and there were absolute bags of fruits and strong, pleasant oaky aromas. The third time it was bourbon like, a bit sweeter, fierier than I remembered. And every other time I found a different whisky than on the occasion before. To sum up then, this is an extraordinary whisky. To me it's like a chameleon. Every single time you try it, you will be overwhelmed by some other detail that you missed the last time around. You could drink a glass every day for the rest of your life and never ever tire of it. If there ever was a drink to have around a log fire to quietly reflect, ponder and contemplate, this one is it! I tried countless malts ranging from 25£ to 180£ a bottle and mark my words, this is hugely underpriced!
4th March 2016