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1994 Oban 16 Year Manager's Dram Single Malt Scotch Whisky Review: Oban Comes Roaring in with a Sherry Cask Delight

Oban Distillery
Photo Credit: Joshua Feldman, the Coopered Pot

Since we’ve already covered one other Oban expression in the Manager’s Dram lineup, we will explore some interesting extra distillery information. If you recall, we discussed Oban's long history of using traditional methods like the continued use of worm tubs and their relatively small size. Let’s dive even deeper into this Highland distillery!

The size I mentioned? That’s a point of pride for the brand, which believes that “out of this smallness comes a scrupulous attention to detail, reverence for tradition, and world-class whisky.” In order to produce their whisky, only seven people are involved: Ronald “Ronnie” Whiteford, Ricky Halcros, Norman Macfarlane, Patrick Steeman, Timothy Bowels, Scott Jordan, and Derek MacLean. MacLean marks the third generation of men in his family to work at Oban.

Oban also uses a uniquely long fermentation time. If you’ve ever heard me mention “low and slow”, this is what I’m on about. Typically, whisky fermentation is complete around the 48 to 60 hour mark, at which point the wash has stopped producing alcohol. Oban allows fermentation to take place over 110 hours which allows the distillate to absorb more flavors from the yeast, perhaps galvanizing their unique character.

A big thank you to Gregory Cloyd for organizing such an illuminating tasting. It was a privilege to explore his beautiful garden with a wonderful group of whisky enthusiasts as we tasted through an incredible Manager's Dram lineup.


Company on Label: Oban Distillery

Whiskey Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Mash Bill Percentages: 100% malted barley

Proof: 128°

Age: 16 years (distilled in 1978 and bottled July 1994)

Further identification: On the front label: A 16 Year Old sherry cask specially selected and bottled at natural strength for malt distillery managers within United Distillers by Ian Williams commemorating the 200th anniversary of the distillery


Nick's Thoughts

Nose: Way different than the December 1995 Oban, Vanilla bean and dank sherry land well in the nose. Black pepper swings in strong before a touch of plastic develops. It smells like a coffee pot zooming by as though I’m sitting in a breakfast diner, one of my favorite places to be. The empty glass smells of dolls and doilies.

Palate: My first sip is cacophonous, like downing a whole box of raisins in one go. I find glue, rubber, and ash. Classier and creamier than expected with classic figgy and jammy notes. It reminds me distinctly of Redbreast 27 year. Really good!

Jes's Thoughts

Note: Upon lifting the glass to my nose, the proof makes itself known, and for me, that's the slightest hint of nail polish. Fallen down, wet sand castles and ocean waves rise up next. Is that mint? Maybe! The fruit weaving through is ripe for the picking, though, juicy and sweet.

Palate: Oh my sweet goodness, this is a creamy dessert jammed with rich, sticky fruit, white pepper, and a big gob of stuck-together raisins. Just. Yum. The nose definitely did not prepare me for the loveliness of this palate.


Rating: 4.5/5

This pour was loud and proud. A blaring hit for Nick & Jes!


Written by: The Amongst the Whiskey Team




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