Oban: Distillers Edition (Scottish Highland Single Malt Whisky: 14 Years: 43% ABV)

Visual: A thick custard gold

Viscosity: Fairly even in distribution and fast in spirit’s speed of descent down the glass.

Nose: Light smoke. Smooth oak and pencil shavings. Waters adds some sulphur.

Body: Smooth.  Madeira sweet. Lime jelly. Sultanas and red wine.  Soaked fruitcake. Glacier cherries. Hint of milk chocolate. Water makes even sweeter and adds a meaty broth touch. Even more water adds white grapes.

Finish: Red cherries. Dry tongue feel. Madeira again. Custard.  Smoke. Dry bitter chocolate. Water adds beef crisps and light peat. White grapes again comes with more water.

Conclusion: These distillers editions really add a sweetness to normally quite harsh whiskies don’t they?

Was slightly worried on first glance with this one as the aroma is fairly weak and doesn’t hint at much of a whisky contained below the surface.

When you get into the whisky itself you find it a Madeira and fruitcake styled addition to the Oban line that is rich and if taken without water very much missing the usual almost Island character like influence of main Oban (Yes I know Oban isn’t an Island whisky, but it does have a few calls to the type due to it’s coastal location)

In an odd inversion of expectations water actually brings out the more beef and smoke elements which balance out what would otherwise be a too sweet whisky. Even with water the sweetness isn’t hidden, you are just given new elements to contrast it.

This, with water, is a lovely complex whisky, full of rich flavour and just enough of an edge. The texture is smooth as can be, and like the Caol Ila Distillers Edition, teeters on the edge of too sweet, especially without water. It does ride that thin edge well and gives far more unexpected flavours than your average sweet whisky.

Frankly all the Distiller Editions in the set have been superb. I’d rank this behind the Lagavulin (which I really should review at some point) but none of them are bad and all are good variations on quality bold whisky.

Well worth a try, or a bottle if you have the money about.

Background: Distilled 1995, bottled 2009. Aged in Montilla casks. I have never tried Montilla but presume it is responsible for the elements that seemed Madeira like to me. Oban is a pretty solid whisky at any point and I have enjoyed the distillers editions so far so this seemed a good pick to try. Drunk at the Rummer hotel, where there was a bit of a wedding reception going on t the time oddly. Oh and yes, I know it’s not the best focused photo. Sorry.