Google Time Warp Sessions, today Oban forty years apart

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

January 15, 2020


Time Warp session,
today Oban forty years apart

Very roughly. I remember when Oban Little Bay first came out (after – or was that before – Talisker Skye) we were all fearing NASisation would also strike Lagavulin. But they did an 8 instead, well done! Anyway, the first Little Bay was not bad at all, quite the contrary (WF 85), but now’s the time to try a newer batch, one from 2018. Nope, I’m sorry, I haven’t got anything from 2019. And then , a much older bottling, as is customary in these kinds of tastings…

Oban 'Little Bay' (43%, OB, +/-2018)

Oban 'Little Bay' (43%, OB, +/-2018) Three stars and a half
If I remember well, Little Bay is rather about refill wood, how refreshing! Colour: gold. Nose: yep, mild smoke, wee malt extracts, nutmeg, perhaps a little plywood from The Home Depot, whiffs of fern, the obligatory cinnamon… Ah yes, I remember now, it’s refill wood but those are smaller casks. Rejuvenated/recoopered? Mouth: it’s frankly Oban, rather on raisins and bitter chocolate, with some tobacco and salty mustard. Walnuts too, bitterer teas, some vegetal smoke (pine cones?) and certainly some bitter oranges. I do not know why Oban always seems to get some flak from the whiskerattis, as I for one always rather enjoyed this rather singular malt whisky. And we won’t even mention the old official 12 yos in their unlikely ‘diamond’ or ‘pear’ decanters. I think we’ll need to try those again in the coming months. Finish: rather long, just a tad too plankish at this point. In my humble opinion, it’s always in the finishes that newish or rejuvenated oaks may become an issue. Smoky aftertaste. Comments: I’m still a fan of little Oban. What’s sure is that Oban is absolutely not whisky for tourists, and that its style is maybe not as easy, or immediate, or well-defined as others. But remember what Frank Zappa used to say, ‘“Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.” There.
SGP:352 - 84 points.

Why not an old indie rather than an official? Not that there are many…

Oban 17 yo 1972 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseurs Choice, +/-1989)

Oban 17 yo 1972 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseurs Choice, +/-1989) Five stars
From that series that we used to coin ‘The Old Map Label’ with the Malt Maniacs, while bitterly regretting the very low strengths and, shall I add, the lethal amounts of caramel that some bottlings used to shelter. Sure some have become legendary, but frankly, G&M have seriously upped their game (and their prices, some would add) since back then. There never were any ‘good old days’, mind you – okay, perhaps in rock and roll… Colour: pale gold (so no heavy caramel). Nose: oh, this is very subtle, murmuring, whispering, with tiny smokes, tinier herbs, leaves and mosses, some orange biscuits, almonds and pistachios, some old cigarettes forgotten in a drawer, probably a few meaty touches (cured beef, bouillon), some discreet menthol and camphor, menthol cigarettes, furniture polish, dried longans, small old raisins… We’re almost perusing a small-town antique shop, see what I mean? Mouth: reminds me of the early Classic Malts. Perfect meaty and orange-y arrival, going towards various smokes, small liqueurs and salty juices, bouillons again, tobaccos, meats… I’m adding plurals to all descriptors since it’s all pretty complex, detailed, and indeed subtle. And it wouldn’t even lose too much steam. Finish: medium, much less cardboardy than others, yet pretty dry. Old teas and bitter chocolate, I would say, plus a wee bit of cured ham in the aftertaste. Comments: a marvellous complexity here. Of course, the low strength is frustrating and we could quite go north of 90. Did dear G&M ever do an Oban in their legendary CASK series? Well, they should have!
SGP:462 - 90 points.

More tasting notesCheck the index of all Oban we've tasted so far







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