top of page

1995 Oban 19 Year Manager's Dram Single Malt Scotch Whisky Review: Where Two Regions Meet in Unique Character

Updated: Jul 6

Oban Distillery
Photo Credit: Joshua Feldman, the Coopered Tot

Oban Distillery is one of the oldest in Scotland, having been established in 1794. It actually predates the town in which it is situated, with the town really forming around the distillery. Two brothers, John and Hugh Stevenson, who were from the local area, founded it on the site of an old brewery.

Oban forms a frontier between the Highlands and the Islands, both geographically and in terms of the character of their whisky.

For scale, Oban is Diageo’s second smallest distillery in terms of production.

Oban is also one of the few distilleries in Scotland that still uses the traditional worm tubs located outside the stillhouse. To get the desired mild and fruity flavor, the water temperature in which both the snake of the wash and the spirit still is located must be set precisely, just high enough so that it still condenses well, and there is also quite a lot of copper contact.

Despite the expected hiccups along the way, Oban is a thriving small-production distillery still today. Diageo, who acquired the site through the UDV merger in 1989, is the present owner. Under them, the distillery has continued to release new expressions, which is lovely to see.

We recommend visiting for additional details on Oban's production, maltings, warehouses, and history. Seriously, there's a lot of good stuff in there!

"Today's rain is tomorrow's whisky"

At the latest Whisky Legends tasting, hosted by Gregory Cloyd, the Amongst the Whiskey Team (Nick Anderson & Jes Smyth, respectively) were fortunate enough to enjoy his beautiful garden during a weekend of legendary tastings. These droplets of rain transformed the garden in a way only nature can do. It was a privilege to taste such rare whisky in such a serene setting, and we are honored to share our tasting notes with you today. And tomorrow until the lineup has been completed.


Company on Label: Oban Distillery

Whiskey Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Mash Bill Percentages: 100% malted barley

Proof: 119.6°

Age: 19 years (distilled in 1976 and bottled December 1995)

Further identification: On the front label: A 19 Year Old refill cask specially selected and bottled at natural strength for malt distillery managers within United Distillers.


Nick's Thoughts

Nose: White pepper and Dawn dish soap lead the way. It’s like hot plates coming fresh out of the dishwasher. I struggled to pick this one apart like one struggles with trying to fold a fitted sheet. The nose becomes more approachable with time, but I made funny faces all throughout this glass.

Palate: Oh my… What is this? Sink water and melon husks. It’s like noshing on all the parts of a fruit you’re not supposed to eat: rinds, pits, cores, husks, seeds—all the inedibles. Kind of a hot mess to my palate, though I understand this to be a diverging personal preference moment.

Jes's Thoughts

Nose: Immediately, I'm reminded of bath towels left crumpled on the bathroom floor, musty and in need of a fresh wash. Thankfully, honey drips in with subtle fruit and a random dash of table salt. This nose isn't super extroverted but more shy and awkward, like a kid attending their first school dance.

Palate: Initially, I find fruit and honey, but the fruit is under-ripened, like the inside of a tough cantaloupe, and the honey favors body wash more so than a honey bear bottle. It's slightly drying, and the wood spice is odd, as is this flaky soap characteristic, like a partially disintegrated bath bomb.


Rating: 3/5

This was a completely different experience, and while it didn't quite land high marks for either Nick or Jes, they were engaged with the unique flavor profile from start to finish.


Written by: The Amongst the Whiskey Team




bottom of page