Yes, we’re back on the malt whisky tours…
The Oban Distillery is very unusual in the fact that it is in the heart of the town. Namely a stones throw away from the harbour and water that some say gives it a salty taste. The original distillery was built on the same grounds before the town itself and whisky being firmly based on traditions, its no surprise that it remains despite the confines of its location.
This is one of the smaller distilleries due to its urban environment but the tour is one of the most entertaining. The same props are on show as seen in previous Classic Malts tours but there’s more emphasis on the product itself. No photographs are allowed on this tour but there’s little actually to see if you’ve been on other tours; unlike Dalwhinnie or Clynelish its not a picturesque setting although the huge cliffs behind the distillery loom large.
Things up a gear when we enter the old casking area. The cool temperature is livened up when we’re invited to sample a cask aged 11 years, which by Oban standards is a teenager. Normally their single malt is 14 years so this was a great opportunity to savour a younger more robust offspring with the added kick of cask strength. At the end of the tour the standard bottling is available to sample and compare. An added bonus is the Glencairn glass is yours to keep from the initial tasting and packaging is handed out. Having bought these myself previously elsewhere the fact you’re receiving two drams, a free glass and a tour just for £7 is impressive. Or if you go armed with the Classic Malts book; the tour is free as well and the tour ticket includes a discount on any 70cl bottle purchase.
What about the whisky? Well Oban plays on its citrus orange taste and the salty impression. It’s a very drinkable malt, probably more reminiscent of a Speyside and being sandwiched inbetween the smoky peat whiskies of the isles a surprise in this respect. The shop is well stocked with other representatives of the Classic Malt and the exclusive bottles including one I almost picked up with a limited run and no further releases. This for £65 offers the chance to experience what they claim is a malt closer to the original Oban heritage and is possibly something extra special.
What photographs I did take on the tour are available here