Tag Archive: Oban

Game Of Thrones: Night Watch: Oban Bay Reserve (Scottish Highland Single Malt Whisky: 43% ABV)

Visual: Deep gold. A thick sheet comes down from the spirit slowly.

Nose: Raisins. Brandy cream. Cereal grains. Oak. Brown sugar crystals. Water adds pine cleaning spray. Pencil shavings. Fudge.

Body: Smooth. Oak. Warming alcohol. Chocolate cake. Black liquorice touch. Mild smoke and stones. Subtle fruitcake. Toffee. Water adds subtle cherries. Charring. Bitter coffee cake. Brandy cream. Orange liqueur touch. Grapes.

Finish: Chocolate cake. Bitter cocoa dust. Light smoke. Dry. Dry stones. Dry oak. Slight caramel. Water adds slight dry liquorice. Bitter red wine.

Conclusion: This is a very dark tasting whisky, mixing what tastes like deep sherry ageing, slight smoke and rocky coast takes on the spirit with bitter chocolate and coffee cake. It is a hefty mix.

This is smooth, but with alcohol warmth if held on the tongue – it smooths even that out very easily with a drop of water. It shares with Talisker that kind of character that, while definitely not Islay, still brings sea breeze, smoke and wet rock touched. A feeling of a match of Highland and Island would be the best way I would describe it.

Over that is a delicious mix of dark fruit, spirit soaked cream notes, generally dark feeling notes, but with slight light sweetness and grapes brought out by water to provide gentle release. It feels thematically appropriate to the Night Watch in bottle design, flavour and general look. Which is nice.

It doesn’t quite reach a must have status, but easily in the top 50% of whisky. It has the complexity, smoothness, lots up front and easy to open up to more complexity. The extra 3% abv feel like it gives a lot more depth to the whisky with little burn in exchange.

Solid and steadfast like the Night Watch. (Well, as far as I read in the books, for all I know this seems massively naive to all those of you who are up to date on the show. I know how GRR Martin works) Heavy and slow drinking, well worth grabbing if you can.

Background: Second of the three game Of Thrones whiskies I bought and the first that is a whole new expression for the GOT line. I got this particular one for two main reasons. One, it has been a while since I have tried a new Oban expression and I have a soft spot for the distillery. Two, look at that bottle, it looks lovely. Yes nothing to do with the whisky I know, but I am easily influenced. Grabbed from Independent spirit, this was drunk while listening to Epic Beard men’s new album “This Was Supposed To Be Fun”. Needs a more detailed listen, but sound like they are on point again with some very cutting and political raps.

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.

Tasting Notes: Oban 14 Year

Oban 14 Year (Highland Scottish single malt whisky: 14 Year: 43% ABV)

Visual: Pure gold.

Viscosity: Very slow slothful streaks.

Nose: Grain and wheat, the lightest hint of peat but subtle and understated. Bails of hay in storage rooms, farm animal food pellets.

Body: Light burnt feel, harsh grain and slight salt. Light honey back. Slightly sour. Rhubarb with just a touch of sugar. Bit of vanilla, then some floral.

Finish: Smoke, feel of turned earth. Again some salt. Real rising fire and extending the salt.

Conclusion: Such an incredibly balanced whisky, telling a fine tale of the distilleries placement as a border guard between the highlands and the islands. Bitter and harsh elements are distinctly noticeable but not to the point that it becomes the whole of the whisky.

It’s not got fire, light sweetness or peatiness taken too far, each element is balanced by the other – It aims for a knife edge balance and subtlety.

Whilst I must admit my favourite whiskeys have a touch more of the extremes I can but take my hat off to the skill taken to make this whisky.

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