Oban is one of the smaller distilleries Diageo owns. Actually the second smallest in the portfolio of Diageo, right after Royal Lochnagar. There aren’t many expressions available. Only the regular 14yo and the annual Distillers Edition are easy to get your hands on. There has been the occasional special release or limited edition, such as this legendary The Manager’s Dram, which was released to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the distillery.
Today’s review is, sadly, not of that supposedly incredible Oban. But it is a review of a nice limited edition, one that is available only at the distillery. It is a NAS whisky, so I say there is bound to be some young stuff in there as well. Although Ruben of WhiskyNotes states that this is a vatting of different casks that were 16 to 19 years old.
Oban ‘Available Only At The Distillery’ (55,2%, OB, 8999 bts.)
Nose: A whiff of candied oranges, but the nose is fairly closed, even after waiting for a bit. Pretty dusty, with wet leaves, hay and pine. A fairly simple nose, a bit uninspiring. Taste: Coffee (mocha and cappuccino) immediately comes to mind. Also chocolate and black tea, and a hint of peat. Definitely oaky. Very pleasant, smooth and balanced. Much better than I expected after nosing it. Finish: Medium in length and oaky with black tea.
A pretty big difference between the quality of the nose and the quality of the palate. During a private tasting I rated this at 83 points. I then took home a sample and found it to be more pleasant, and a rating of 86 might well be possible on a good day. So I took the average of those two scores and rounded it up.