Oban 21 Year (2018)

Christmas Countdown 2020 #9: Oban 21 Year (2018)

Distillery: Oban

Region: Highland

Age: 21 Year. Distilled in 2016, Bottled in 2018.

ABV: 57.9% Cask Strength

Cask Type: Refill European Oak Butts

Price: Part of a flight enjoyed in December 2019.

Color: 0.9, Amontillado Sherry.

This is the 9th installment of this years’ Christmas Countdown. You can see the entire 2020 series here or the 2019 edition here.


Nose: It’s quite prickly and not the “this will burn your nostrils” prickly. The kind of prickly-ness you get from bubbly drinks. Apple and pear ciders are what stand out the most. There’s a bit of fresh grass as well.

Palate: Much like how the nose is, this is quite bubbly. Like soda bubbly, sparkling water bubbly. So I suppose it’s fitting that the biggest note I get here is of, well, bubbly. Champagne is front and center with the light white grape notes and bursts of sweetness here and there. Muscat grapes also make an appearance along with a lovely pear sorbet. It’s refreshing, fruity, and all around delightful.

Finish: Quite long. Hot pie crust is the main note. It’s joined by some malt and a little more of that champagne.

Conclusion: This has been a whisky that had me confused when I drank it and still confused as I think back on it. It tastes and almost feels like you’re drinking champagne. Strong champagne, but champagne. There’s white wine and white grapes galore in here along with some other orchard fruits in apple and pear. The sweetness is just right and the bubbly-like tingle makes for an incredibly refreshing dram. Would I buy a bottle? At MSRP, it goes onto the “if I win the lottery list”. If, by some miracle, I ever saw this under $200, it would be an instant buy.

Final Score: 91.

Scotch Whisky Review #232, Highland Review #47, Whisky Network Review #351


Scoring Legend:

  • 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 (if feasible).
  • 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.

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