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Oban Distillery

June 27, 2014 by Pedro Crespo

I would like to explain to everyone about the Oban whisky distillery. I went on a guided distillery tour this week so I am going to talk about my experience. It was my first time in a whisky distillery.

Firstly, Oban Distillery, started in 1794, is one of the smallest distilleries in Scotland due to the location in Oban town centre and was not allowed to increase its factory size. Oban 14 years old single malt whisky has 4 different flavours, smoky, sea salt, orange peel and honey. It is unusual that Oban whisky has a sea salt flavour. According to the experts, they believe that it is due to the proximity to the sea.

Secondly, just three basic ingredients are needed to produce whisky – water, barley and yeast. The production process has 5 main stages: Malting, Mashing, Fermentation, Distillation and Maturation.

Malting Stage

The barley is soaked for 2-3 days in warm water and then traditionally spread on the floor of a building called a malting house. Oban distillery has its own barley supplier. This supplier is in charge of the whole process because the size of the distillery is too small to do it.

Mashing Stage

The ground down malt, which is called ‘grist’, is now added to warm water to begin the extraction of the soluble sugars. Oban distillery uses pure water from a local supplier.

Fermentation Stage

The wort is cooled and passed into large tanks called wash backs. Oban distillery is the only distillery in Scotland where the fermentation process takes 4 days.

Distillation Stage

In Oban distillery the wash is distilled twice. In the end, the best part of the spirit called, “the heart”, is taken to be matured and this spirit will become Oban whisky. During this stage, any residue from the wash still is collected and used to manufacture farm feed.

Maturation Stage

The spirit is put into oak casks and stored in the warehouse. Oban distillery uses American bourbon oak cask and the spirit is kept for 14 years. In the last year of the maturation process, Oban distillery uses a Spanish cherry oak for 8 months. Final result is an Oban 14 years old single malt whisky with 43% alcohol.

In the end, our tour finished with a glass of whisky of Oban 14 years old single malt. A passport was given to us. The main distilleries across Scotland are listed in this passport and you get a stamp after finishing your guided tour. I have got my first stamp and I am now looking forward to visiting a new distillery. It is a big challenge to visit all the distilleries! Would you be able to do it?

I loved my first whisky experience; the tour takes around one hour and 15 minutes. Tickets prices are £7.50 per adults.

Check out Oban distillery for details on how to book a guided tour.