Review #51: Oban Bay Reserve (Game of Thrones The Night’s Watch)
Color: 1.3, Russet/Muscat. If other Oban bottlings are anything to go by, this is most likely Chill Filtered and has Color Added.
This bottle was a bit of a pain to find. There was very little of this shipped to the Omaha market (rumored to be either one or two cases according to a few of the stores) and basically everyone who had it sold out of it the day they got it. Fortunately, I managed to find a bottle while visiting my in-laws in Southern California over Christmas and even that was a close-run thing as it was the last bottle at the store I found it at.
Nose (according to the wife): It’s a sweet one! The nose just exudes sweetness in the form of a sweet wine (it doesn’t seem like sherry but neither she or I could place it), honey, and the slightest hints of strawberries. Along with the sweet notes, there’s a lot of fresh flowers which is lovely.
Palate: As the nose suggests, it is on the sweeter side but not overly so. There is a lot of lovely malt sweetness (perhaps malt biscuits?) accompanied by a bit of maraschino cherry and a bit of strawberry syrup/jelly which makes up most of the palate. Some well-aged oak spices (or should I say extremely wet oak spices?) pop up near the end as well as a bit of floral tea. The mouthfeel is a bit disappointing as it is rather thin. With a bit of water, it becomes incredibly smooth to drink.
Finish: The finish on this reminded me a lot of the Distiller’s Edition minus the bit of smoke. It’s short and with a bit of the drying effect of floral tea. There’s a little bit more of the strawberry syrup/jelly and a bit more aged oak as well.
Conclusion: I’ve loved every Oban I’ve had a chance to try and this guy is no exception. The nose is very inviting with a bit of sweetness. The palate reminds me a bit of afternoon tea complete with a malts biscuit and preserved fruits. The finish, while short, is refreshing and wraps this up nicely. I’m a bit disappointed at how thin the mouthfeel and the overly wet oak/aged oak is a little weird given that the dram has a bit of youthful heat to it. Overall, very pleasant and well worth the hunt to find it. Would I buy another bottle? If I could find one, definitely.
Final Score: 81
Scotch whisky review #51, Highland review #13, Whisky Network Review #68
- 96-100: The perfect dram, nectar of the gods.
- 90-95: Near perfect, there is something truly special about this whisky.
- 85-89: Amazing, will always try to keep a bottle of this in my collection.
- 80-84: Very Good, maybe only one minor nitpick about the whisky keeping it here.
- 75-79: Good, quite enjoyable to drink.
- 70-74: Solid, wouldn’t go out of my way to get it.
- 60-69: Meh, still drinkable.
- Below 59: If you have a bottle of this, start cooking with it instead.