Sunday, October 15, 2017

A Wee Dram

Oban Distillery
Oban is a small seaside town in Northwest Scotland. It is busy because it hosts the ferry terminal for many of the islands offshore. However, its reach extends all over the world, and even people back home in Canada may recognize the Oban name from one of it’s most famous exports, Oban 14 year single malt Scotch whiskey.

Although I am not a whiskey fan, it is a big part of the town, and was only three blocks from our apartment, so we booked a tour of the distillery.

The distillery still works out of the original stone building in the heart of Oban under the cliff
Lots to sample . . .
from McCaig’s Tower. When you walk into the visitor’s center however you are in a modern renovated room that although hip and stylish was a bit out of character for the old building it was in. This area housed a gift shop (With lots of whiskey for sale), a reception area for the tours and a tasting bar in case you just cannot wait for the tour to sample the product.

The Fermentation Tanks
Our tour guide was excellent and kept us not only informed but also entertained as she took us through the process of making whiskey. I learned some interesting things about whiskey. The Oban product is fermented in huge Larchwood tanks unlike most distilleries, which use stainless steel for this. The Whiskey is aged for at least 14 years in used American oak barrels that once stored bourbon. Their higher end product is further aged in French Sherry barrels or European oak. Although they still operate out of the original building, growth has forced them to store the barrels off site and some of the other process is done elsewhere as well. They only have four larchwood fermentation tanks and two copper stills, making them one of the smallest distilleries in Scotland, but they manage to produce 650,000 litres a year. That means that there is over 9 million litres of whiskey stored until it is sold. Apparently they produce a quality drink, and a friend back home claims Oban 14 is her whiskey of choice.
An enthusiastic tour guide

The tour was excellent, and although not a whiskey fan, I left with a new appreciation of the drink, and will probably bring a bottle home to have on hand when Scotch fans visit.

1 comment:

  1. Artie...Artie...Artie... T’is my favourite Scotch and way up there on the list of places I want to go.