It’s been a while since we took a look at any of Diageo’s Distillers Edition releases, so before the next crop hits the shelves this fall, I thought I would revisit a favorite of mine from Oban, a small but mighty distillery in the Highland region of Scotland. For Oban’s annual Distillers Edition, the standard 14-year-old bottling is aged for at least six additional months in barrels that previously held Montilla Fino sherry. Let’s see how the 2019 edition compares to our last review, the 2011 release.
On the nose, the latest Distillers Edition from Oban is still on the drier side, although sufficient time in the glass allows some sweeter red fruits, dehydrated of course, and grape skin notes to emerge. It’s malt-forward at its core and kissed with a bit of that maritime salt spray that is a trademark of the distillery. On the palate, there’s less coastal character than in previous bottlings, with more gentle fruit coming through and a bit of Christmas cake. It’s relatively light, however, so those fruits don’t always hang on for the full ride. The mid-palate sees the addition of campfire smoke, which turns to brine and driftwood on the medium length finish. It’s livelier than the 2011 release but not by much: An enjoyable dram for fans of the wine-finished Highland style who appreciate a bit of ocean air in their glass.