Lying on the west coast of Argyll, Oban is conveniently located between the islands and the highlands of Scotland. Its unique whisky also manages to combine the peaty flavours from the islands with a sweeter lighter flavour of the highlands. The distillery is located on a busy laneway in the heart of the Oban township.
In 1794 John and Hugh Stevenson chose this seaside location to start their distillery because of its harbour and accessible transport by sea. Soon the town of Oban began to grow up around the distillery and the habour. Two further generations of Stevensons continued the family’s business interests in Oban. Hugh’s son, Thomas, purchased the distillery and the slate quarries from his father and uncle’s trustees.
Later he built the Caledonian Hotel, but, alas, he ran into financial difficulties through supporting his brother in a printing business in Edinburgh. He attempted to satisfy his creditors by supplying them with slates and whisky. His son, John, who had been living in Peru, returned and took over the running of the distillery in 1830. He managed Oban until shortly before his death in 1869, when it passed out of the family.
In 1883 J. Walter Higgin bought the distillery. Between 1890 and 1894 he dismantled and rebuilt it bit by bit, in order to keep it in production such was the demand for Oban’s malt. He carefully replicated the famously small stills and other traditional features in order to preserve the quality of the whisky.
The distillery buildings and their internal arrangements remain almost the same today as they were following Higgin’s refurbishment.
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700 ml, 43.0% abv, Scotland (Highland)A bustling seaside resort has grown up around Oban distillery in the two centuries since it set up home in a fishing village. The West Highland single malt is still produced in the same unhurried, traditional fashion. A combination of light smoke, medium richness and appetising spice.
700 ml, 43.0% abv, Scotland (Highland)Oban Little Bay is labeled as 'small cask', this non-age statement release takes mature small batch Oban single malt, and gives it time in 200-litre ex-bourbon barrels. This has resulted in a rich whisky with notes of stone fruit, spice and honey. "Dark amber in color, Oban Little Bay has a rich and vibrant malty nose with dried apple, dried plums, caramel, honey, allspice, and oak. There’s a solid balance between the rich and spicy characteristics. The entry is very flavorful and expressive, matching the nose quite well with toasted malt, green apple, dried apricot, salt, chocolate, and orange peel. In the midpalate the real impact of the small cask finish is quite apparent as the spice elements noticeably increase with clove and oak without abandoning the sweet dried fruit underneath. After the peak of the midpalate, Oban Little Bay backs off quite a bit for a lightly acidic and slightly spicy finish. It’s a fairly light and slightly dry finish that ends fairly clean" "Little Bay’s warming richness is neatly balanced by a smoky spicy-dryness"
700 ml, 43.0% abv, Scotland (Highland)The founders of Oban distillery would have approved of the Spanish influence brought to bear with this edition’s second maturation in Montilla Fino cask wood finish. Saline, smoke and a nice hint of mandarin orange peel. The palate is silky with oak spice and fruit notes and leads to a soft, smoky finish accented by a touch of coffee. Finished in Fino Sherry casks
(Note current stock is Distilled 1999, Bottled 2014)