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Oban Distillery

Oban distillery (pronounced O-ban, means little bay in Gaelic) is a whisky distillery in the Scottish west coast port of Oban. Established in 1794, it was built before the town of the same name, which sprung up later in the surrounding craggy harbour.

Oban distillery is owned by Diageo. It has only two pot stills, making it one of the smallest in Scotland, producing a whisky that has been described as having a “West Highland” flavour that falls between the dry, smoky style of the Scottish islands and the lighter, sweeter malts of the Highlands.

  • Owner

    Diageo

  • Status

    Operational

  • Country

    Scotland

  • Region

    Highland

  • Production type:

    Single Malt

  • Founded

    1794

  • Production yearly

    835.000 Liters

History

Oban is unusual in being both a seaside distillery and an urban one. Its story is inextricably tied to the town in whose High Street it is wedged. Indeed, the site is as old as the present town itself.

In the late 18th century, the Duke of Argyll, keen to build business on his lands, offered low rents to anyone who would build a house. The enterprising Stevenson brothers (John and Hugh) bought the island of Belnahua in 1780 to quarry slate for a project which would take advantage of this incentive scheme. They weren’t planning to build a house, but a town.

In 1793, they had laid out what is today’s Oban, and at its heart they built a brewery. A year later there is a record of distillation taking place, though the first official record only dates from 1799. The Oban distillery would remain in the family’s ownership until 1866 when it was sold to local businessman Peter Cumstie who held it until 1883 when he sold it to John Walter Higgin.

Throughout this period, its reputation was growing, but transport was always difficult. Although Oban was by now a thriving port it took time to get the whisky to the main market of Glasgow. It was given a lifeline in 1888 when the railway from Glasgow arrived. 

Further success on the market saw Higgin rebuild the distillery – what you see today is his design. He then sold it on in 1898 to another entrepreneur, Alexander Edward [Aultmore, Craigellachie] who retained ownership until 1930, when it was taken by DCL (now Diageo).

A very small site (it only has two stills), by the ‘60s Oban was at the mercy of an industry which was in expansive mood and, in 1968, DCL announced that it would be closed. The decision however was reversed with the building of the present stillhouse in 1972.

Soon after (in 1979) Oban became an early player in what was the new single malt category with the launch of a 12-year-old expression. In 1989, it was relaunched as a 14-year-old when Oban joined the Classic Malts Selection. It was at this point that it began to build its significant following in the US market.

These days, in excess of 35,000 visitors pass through its doors. Not bad for a sma’ still.

Play Video
“We’ve never had to . . . . make claims that we’re the peatiest, or the lightest, or the smoothest. The whisky speaks for itself.”
Brendan McCarron
Oban Distillery Manager

Distillery Facts

Taste profile

Core range 

At this point Oban’s core range is: 

  • 14 year old 
  • 18 year old 
  • Little Bay
  • Oban Bay Reserve -Game of Thrones 

Archive bottles: 

  • Distillers Edition 

DISTILLERS EDITION:

  • Distillers Edition 2006
  • Distillers Edition 2005
  • Distillers Edition 2004
  • Distillers Edition 2003
  • Distillers Edition 2001
  • Distillers Edition 2000
  • Distillers Edition 1999
  • Distillers Edition 1998
  • Distillers Edition 1997
  • Distillers Edition 1996
  • Distillers Edition 1995
  • Distillers Edition 1993
  • Distillers Edition 1992
  • Distillers Edition 1991
  • Distillers Edition 1990
  • Distillers Edition 1989
  • Distillers Edition 1987
  • Distillers Edition 1985
  • Distillers Edition 1984
  • Distillers Edition 1983
  • Distillers Edition 1982
  • Distillers Edition 1980

Distillery Tours

THE CLASSIC TOUR

A guided walk around the distillery, followed by a tasting of our award-winning Benromach 10 & 15 Year Old whiskies.

DURATION:

About 1 hour

DRAMS

3 drams

COST

£8 per person
 
 
 

Visitor center 

OPENING TIMES

January – February

OPENING TIMES

 

DayTimes
Monday12:3016:30
Tuesday12:3016:30
Wednesday12:3016:30
Thursday12:3016:30
Friday12:3016:30
Saturday12:3016:30
Sunday12:3016:30

 

March -November

OPENING TIMES

DayTimes
Monday09:3017:00
Tuesday09:3017:00
Wednesday09:3017:00
Thursday09:3017:00
Friday09:3017:00
Saturday09:3017:00
Sunday09:3017:00

December

OPENING TIMES

DayTimes
Monday12:0016:30
Tuesday12:0016:30
Wednesday12:0016:30
Thursday12:0016:30
Friday12:0016:30
Saturday12:0016:30
Sunday12:0016:30

 

CONTACT DETAILS

Oban Distillery
Stafford Street
Oban
Argyll
PA34 5NH
United Kingdom
Oban social media links

Livingbythedram social media links 

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