Oban 12 Years (Special Release 2021)

Oban 12 Years (Special Release 2021)

Oban is a bit of an insider’s dram, it doesn’t get a lot of attention from whisky lovers, but on the other hand Diageo doesn’t seem to promote it either, with just a limited amount of expressions. I’m just saying we’re always pleased with a new Oban bottling among the Special Releases.

This 12 year-old was distilled in 2008. While all Diageo documents claim it was matured in freshly charred American oak casks, the label says it’s from ex-bourbon and refill casks.


Oban 12 yo 2008 (56,2%, OB Special Releases 2021, freshly charred American oak casks)

Nose: quite fresh, on lemon peels, lemon juice and apples, with a pungent top note of mustard. Salted crackers and seaweed. Quite coastal. Hints of green banana and unripe gooseberry. Whiffs of wet cement, as well as something lightly charred.

Mouth: a fierce attack, fairly spirity even, but showing nice green apples, lemons and grapefruits. Powerful chilli, with a light bitterness of green walnuts and clove. Gingery warmth. Quite some salty notes, resinous hints (retsina in the distance) and mustard again. When the heat settles down vanilla comes forward.

Finish: quite long, but rather prickly and spirity again. Schnapps with salt, lemon zest and a herbal touch.

There’s a raw edge to it, but the punchy, dry and salty character does set it apart. The most maritime and powerful expression I’ve had from Oban, so not for beginners. Among the best value for money bottles in the 2021 Special Releases though. Available from The Whisky Exchange or Master of Malt, and plenty of local retailers.