Oban Island Whisky Distillery
Located on the West coast of Scotland Oban was once a little a fishing village and is now a large town and the gateway to the Scottish Islands with Ferries running regularly out to Mull and the Outer Hebrides. When John and Hugh Stevenson arrived in Oban in 1778 it would have been unrecognisable to their ancestors today. John and Hugh was an industrious pair and started their own tannery, boatyard and brewery which was to eventually become the Oban whisky distillery in 1794.
The siblings ran the Oban distillery until 1822 before Hugh’s son Thomas Stevenson inherited Oban In 1822 he quickly bought out other shareholders and decided to go it alone. It was a bad decision and the distillery went bust seven years later. He tried everything to retain control of the distillery including offering payments in whisky but it took his older brother John to rescue Oban and it operated under the Stevenson name until 1866 when it was sold to a Peter Curnstie. In the years following the whisky distillery went through a multitude of owners with a Walter Higgin (who rebuilt it between 1890-1894) in 1883, Alexander Edward in 1898 (becoming Oban & Aultmore Ltd), John Dewar & Sons 1923 (trading as The Oban Distillery Company Ltd), DCL in 1925 and then Scottish Malt Distillers Ltd in 1930. Unbelievably scotch whisky production went on at Oban throughout this period including during the Pattison crash and even during the rebuilding process Walter Higgin kept it going replicating the tiny stills used at Oban.
Production did cease between 1931 and 1937 and it was also closed during the entire period of World War 2. The distillery is located between the cliffs at Oban and the town centre not allowing for any expansion and the distillery was mothballed in 1969 however this didn’t last long with Oban opening its doors again in 1972 with another refurbishment and new spirit still and wash added.
Oban is now part of drinks giants Diageo’s vast portfolio of Scottish whisky distilleries complete with tourist visitor centre and popularity has increased after Diageo released and Oban single malt whisky as part of their Classic Malts of Scotland range. Oban whisky is also used in Bells blended whisky.
Taste: Medium bodied with a strong barley taste with salt and spiciness and a dry finish.