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

October 27, 2021


Special Releases Special, today Oban

There's this new 12 'SR' and I'm rather intrigued, being quite an Oban fan. Let's try to find a proper sparring partner if you please, even if let's be honest, the Oban box is almost empty at Château Whiskyfun. How many different Obans are there? Perhaps choose this early Classic Malt?...


Oban 14 yo (43%, OB, 75cl, +/-1988)

Oban 14 yo (43%, OB, 75cl, +/-1988) Four stars and a half
So a very early European Classic Malt, still filled into a 75cl bottle and bearing the 'Little Bay of Caves' nickname. Remember the two or three earlier official 12 yo in their decanter-like bottles had been nothing but stellar. Colour: light gold. Nose: comes with this very peculiar sooty profile, full of brine (black olives juice) and roasted pine nuts. Some meaty fatness (mutton suet?) and then an unexpectedly gentler combination of butterscotch and café latte. Wee touches of soft soap, beeswax and thyme essence somewhere in the background. A rather big old-school boy feeling denser and richer than 43% vol. on the nose. Mouth: indeed, a fatter baby, also very sooty and a tad mustardy at first, getting then relatively rounder, with burnt cakes and roasted chestnuts. Quite some saltiness coating all that, reminiscent of black olives once again. Certainly one of the sootiest malts and, in a way, a true West-coaster beside Springbank and, say Ben Nevis. Finish: pretty long, dry, very salty and with clear notes of pine smoke. Comments: probably more complex than newer offerings, although I would believe that recent batches have improved again after some more difficult 2000s. Extremely good and truly idiosyncratic (love that word in tasting notes), these European 75cl-bottles are really worth chasing down.
SGP:362 - 89 points.

Oban 12 yo 'A Tale of Light and Dark' (55.9%, OB, Special Release 2021, Untold Legends)

Oban 12 yo 'A Tale of Light and Dark' (55.9%, OB, Special Release 2021, Untold Legends) Four stars
Said to be a 2008 and to have been matured in fresh-charred American oak, although the label would say 'ex-bourbon and refill casks'. The official website also speaks of 'Oban's understated, easy-drinking style'. Not too sure about that part… Colour: white wine. Nose: certainly not as briney and deep as the old 14, and rather more spirity but that may well be the much higher alcohol. Overripe apples and a little beer, mustard and soap. With water: we're closer to its ancestor, even if there's no beeswax this time, no terpenic notes, no piney stuff... But the olives are back. It's a simpler but remember the 14 had spent more than thirty years in glass. Mouth (neat): good, if a little eau-de-vie-ish and even brutal. More beer or ale, orange bitters, indeed a touch of salt… I believe we're on the right track… With water: it's not that we recreated the old 14, but, well, quite so… Excellent pine resin and salt, liquorice, fino sherry (I know there isn't any, but Oban IS fino-y), and once again something clearly 'West-Coast'. Not talking about jazz here, eh… Finish: pretty long, tighter, with some salted kirschwasser would I say. One pickled gherkin in the aftertaste. Comments: really a style that I enjoy, very well done even if the old 14 remained out of reach all along. Oban is not malt whisky for tourists!
SGP:462 - 87 points.

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







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