I have fond memories of visiting Oban, a pretty coastal town on the west side of Scotland. I’ve visited the distillery on several occasions and have loved my experiences there. The last tour in particular was great as at the end we were led into the warehouse and sampled directly from a young cask that was quite simply superb. I’ve also walked the length of the town, visited the castle and even managed to visit the town on a work trip! Oban is a fantastic place that produces cracking whisky and that is why I was full of anticipation for the latest release – Oban Little Bay.
Oban Little Bay is constructed from refill casks (with new cask ends), European sherry oak casks and refill Hogsheads (mostly American oak) before being married together in smaller casks to create the final spirit. This process is designed to create additional complexity in the whisky and provide ‘layers’ of flavour. The whisky itself is distilled in Oban’s small ‘lantern’ shaped stills and some readers will be interested to know that the distillery still uses traditional wormtubs in its whisky making process.
Oban Little Bay [43%]
A delightful dram that I fell in love with as I supped it over the course of an evening.
Nose: Lots of bubblegum, honeysuckle and heather giving a sweet and fresh scent. The salt then comes through reminding me of the sea air at Oban. There is a hint of damp earth about it, entwined with a waft of smoke. The nose was very reminiscent of the Oban 21 year old Special Release for me, and that is a great thing!
Palate: Very fresh and mild to begin with. Over time the heat built in the mouth providing delightful charred barbecue flavours with a little citrus taking the edge of it. It may lack massive power but I loved the way the flavours danced around the mouth changing from fruity and minty to sweet and smoky.
Finish: Salt, orange peel and pepper.
Overall, I really like this whisky – it’s just a shame that its currently only available in the US. However, it is expected to be released on a wider basis this coming winter so do keep an eye out for it later in the year!