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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

December 16, 2013


Tasting two official Oban

There's very few Obans around and the indies never had many, apart from a handful at Cadenhead's, for example. So the news of a new Oban among the new Special Releases was, well, good news. Let's see if it's as great as the Managers' Choice from four years ago. Four years? Yes, already...

Oban 18

Oban 18 yo 'Limited Edition' (43%, OB, +/- 2011) Three stars and a half There was another version back in 2008, bearing another label. Colour: gold. Nose: bizarrely, I find this baby very eau-de-vie-ish. Kirsch, plums, even raspberry... Behind that, touches of eucalyptus and camphor but those are really tiny. However, it tends to become more coastal over time and there's maybe also a little rubber. Rubber bands. Also rubbed orange peel. Mouth: I think I like this palate better than the nose. There is something slightly rubbery again but that would rather be similar to what can be found in some herbal teas. Cherry stems? Gets then toffeeish, with a typical saltiness and some custard and orange liqueur. Touches of tobacco and liquorice, then rum agricole, maybe. Good body at just 43% vol. Finish: medium length, maltier. A little Demerara sugar and again this tiny wee touches of rubber in the aftertaste. Comments: I really like it, despite a style that's maybe a little, say unusual, as if it hasn't found itself yet. But does that mean anything? SGP:341 - 83 points.

Oban 21 yo (58.5%, OB, Special Releases, 2860 bottles)

Oban 21 yo (58.5%, OB, Special Releases, 2860 bottles) Four stars Colour: dark gold. Nose: nothing to do with the 18 whatsoever, this is much more aromatic, fatter for sure, fruitier, and also much more honeyed and vanilla-ed. I do also get these notes of coconut that often come from new or rejuvenated American oak, as well as some Sauternes, I'd say. More honey, apricot jam, quince jelly and such. Very aromatic. With water: the coastal side comes out. Seaweed, beach... Yet the jammy/honeyed side remains there. Also rose petals, perhaps? Mouth (neat): malt liqueur made with honey instead of sugar, plus drops of coconut and ginger liqueurs. Tastes modern and, in a way, bourbony. I cannot not think of Glenmo's Ealanta (so of... no, no...) Very oily mouth feel. With water: the oak comes out this time. Sweet oak, that is, ginger, cinnamon pie, gingerbread, speculoos, touches of cloves... A wee feeling of tonic water too. Definitely 'modern'. Finish: rather long, with good balance between the sweet spices and the creamy vanilla. That would be vanilla cream, I suppose. A salty tang in the aftertaste as well as some lime, which 'lifts' it. Comments: quite some wood technology inside. Maybe not much magic, but this works a treat. SGP:651 - 85 points.

More tasting notes Check the index of all Oban I've tasted so far


Pete McPeat and Jack Washback







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