A few months ago, I got to taste the second oldest Oban ever bottled. It was a 21 year old bottled at cask strength as part of the 2013 Diageo special releases. I absolutely loved it, and you can find the review here. I was hoping to get this dram to taste for my birthday, as this bottle and I share a vintage, but that didn’t work out, and I got it in time for a holiday season/belated birthday ultra premium tasting of samples which included a bunch of 30 ml samples of the 1969 Oban, 1981 Karuizawa, 25 year old OB Brora, a rare 1975 Ayrshire/Ladyburn from Signatory, 1954 Glen Grant, 1977 Glenisla, 1973 Teaninich Rare Malts Selection and my first ever North Port/Brechin. I’ll report on some of the more interesting drams in the days leading up to 2016.
As I mentioned in the post on the 21 year old, only three Obans have ever been bottled in the Special Releases range: This 32 year old 1969 released in 2002, a 20 year old released the next year, followed a full decade later by the 21 year old released in 2013. They were all released at cask strength, unchill filtered. Now only the quest for the rather elusive 20 year old remains, as yet, incomplete.
Oban 1969, 32 Year Old, Bottled for the 2002 Special Releases, 6000 Bottles (55.1% ABV, NCF, NC)
Appearance: Amber, slow legs from a persistent necklace.
Nose: Salty with a spicy note of honey. Some wood spices (cinnamon and nutmeg) that get stronger as time goes on. Sugar dough appears after a while. Water highlights the sweeter notes with some sweet sherry and some dark berries. The salt and sherry combination here really works.
Palate: Surprisingly gentle, with a dryness and a strong spiciness. There’s a certain freshness to it even after 32 years in cask with a faint sour note. Water brings the salt to the palate too.
Linger: Salty and peppery, with the honey and dried fruit sweetness lingering underneath. Oaky and dry, with a light sweetness and faint bitterness under it. This dram has a very long and drying effect.
This dram was matured, at least partially, in sherry casks, but isn’t heavily sherried. It is pretty complex, and definitely is a dram that needs time. Classically a western Highlander, it has a fascinating combination of saltiness and sweetness with just enough spice to really make it very memorable.
Take your time with this one, it’s a dram to savor!