Sunday, 27 May 2012

Whisky Discovery #116

Oban Distillers Edition 1996 (43% abv, OB, Bottled 2010 70cl)
Highland Single Malt Whisky
Circa £50.00 70cl

The Oban Distillers Edition
alongside the Singleton  15 Year Old
For our fourth dram of the Magnificent 7, Colin Dunn had chosen this 1996 Distillers Edition from Oban. I have had a bottle of their 14 year old in the past which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Oban is the frontier between the West Highlands and the Islands; the meeting place between land and sea. A perfect, sheltered harbour makes it the principal seaport for the Isles and the capital of the West Highlands.

It has a mild, temperate climate, warmed by the Gulf Stream and washed (too often, some might say) by the soft rain that often falls hereabouts. This misty, maritime character, with a background of heather and peat, is probably echoed in the malt whisky produced there.

Oban is also one of the oldest licensed distilleries in Scotland. In effect, the town grew up around the distillery and since its foundation in 1794 it has played a crucial role in local life.

The tiny lantern-shaped copper pot stills are among the smallest in Scotland; their rich, fruity malt is then slowly condensed in wooden worm tubs that sit outside among the rooftops, before being aged in oak casks for at least 14 years.

This Distillers Edition expression undergoes a second (or ‘double’) maturation in casks that have previously held Montilla Fino sherry casks - a clean, gentle dry sherry which often has olive notes and almond and was a 1996 vintage.

So what did I think?

We were nosing and tasting this up against another Distillers Edition from Cragganmore, and I've tried both the Clynelish and Lagavulin editions earlier in my journey. Because of the secondary maturation in quality wine, sherry or part casks (depending upon Master Distiller, or instructions from Diageo) these tend to be seriously complex whiskies, and this was no exception.

A lovely orange zesty nose and plenty of sweet fruit, grapes complemented by saltiness from an ocean spray and chewy, roasty caramel malt, and perhaps a touch of smoke too. Rich and full as you would expect from sherry finished whisky, with rich fruit and the saltiness of an ocean spray and a malty biscuit finish to it. This one has been bottled at 43% abv, and I would be more than happy to have this on my shelf.

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