I have always loved writing, and now that I am retired I thought I would be able to find time to write, but it seems that I still manage to fill my days with activities. I have however found that while I travel, I enjoy writing about some of the interesting things we do. I hope you enjoy reading of our adventures as much as I like writing about them.
Sunday, October 15, 2017
A Wee Dram
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 . . .
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.