Oban 12 Year Diageo 2021 Special Release

Scotch Whisky Review #351: Oban 12 Year Diageo 2021 Special Release

Distillery: Oban.

Region: Highland.

Age: 12 Year.

ABV: 56.2%. Cask Strength.

Cask Type: Freshly-charred American oak casks.

Cost: Sample courtesy of /u/I_SAID_NO_GOLDFISH.

Color: 0.2, Pale Straw.

This is the 16th installment of this years’ Christmas Countdown. You can see the 2020 edition here and 2019 edition here.


Nose: After a few moments with this, a certain advertisement jingle started ringing in my head. It smells incredibly similar to Ricola, the lemon flavored cough drop. Lemon is the main note with some some herbs in the background. A slightly waxy note of honeycomb comes through as well.

Palate: Cask strength was far too hot for me and a dousing of water was absolutely needed. Thankfully, it does calm down nicely when you do dump in some water. A combination of several cookies comes to mind. Tea biscuits (the British kind) and Chessmen butter cookies are the main ones along with some kind of scone. A rice cracker note also comes through, the type that has little bits of seaweed in it.

Finish: Short. A touch of beeswax comes through very quickly with a touch of lemon.


Conclusion: Oban has been a distillery I’ve really been a fan of and I’m always excited to see any non-standard release of it. Bottled at cask strength, should be pretty good right? Unfortunately, this is nothing more than a disappointment. The nose is interesting and teases a really interesting whisky. The palate, while tasty enough, is simplistic with just notes of various baked goods. The finish is virtually non-existent. A complete lack of complexity here really makes me sad, given how you would hope upping the bottling strength would introduce some more flavor and not take some away. It’s not bad, just not worth the money it seems.

Final Score: 79.


Scotch Whisky Review #351, Highland Review #71, Whisky Network Review #501


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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