OBAN" brand logo in white on black background.

Oban Distillery

  • Scotland, UK
  • 2018 Tastings.com International Review of Spirits Gold Star, 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition Silver Medal
  • https://www.obanwhisky.com/distillery
Phone Number
  • +441631572004
  • Stafford St, Oban PA34 5NH, United Kingdom

Oban Distillery exterior with stone facade and flower planters

History of Oban Distillery

Founding and Early Years

The Oban Distillery, nestled in the heart of the Scottish Highlands, has a storied history dating back to its founding in 1794. Established by brothers Hugh and John Stevenson, the distillery began as a small operation in the port town of Oban. This location was strategically chosen due to its proximity to the sea, aiding in the distribution of their products. The early years of Oban Distillery were marked by innovation and experimentation, as the Stevenson brothers worked to refine their whiskey-making techniques.

Expansion and Modernization

Throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, the distillery underwent several changes in ownership and experienced significant expansions. The most notable change occurred in the late 1800s when it was taken over by Peter Curnstie. Under his leadership, the distillery was modernized and expanded, helping to increase production and improve the quality of the whiskey. The distillery also navigated the challenges of the world wars and the Prohibition era, which impacted the whiskey industry globally.

Contribution to the Community and Sustainability Efforts

Beyond whiskey production, Oban Distillery has played a significant role in the local community. It has been a major employer in the area and has contributed to the economic and cultural development of Oban. In recent years, the distillery has also focused on sustainability, implementing practices to reduce its environmental impact, such as using locally sourced barley and investing in energy-efficient technologies.

Legacy and Future

Today, Oban Distillery stands as a testament to Scottish whiskey-making tradition, combining centuries-old methods with modern innovation. As it looks to the future, the distillery remains committed to producing high-quality whiskey while adapting to the evolving tastes and preferences of whiskey drinkers worldwide. The legacy of Oban Distillery is not just in its products but also in its enduring contribution to the rich tapestry of Scotch whiskey history.

Awards Won by Oban Distillery

2018 Tastings.com International Review of Spirits Gold Star

  • Award: 92 Points and a Gold Rating
  • Significance: This award shines a spotlight on the superb quality of Oban’s Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Scoring 92 points is no small feat, and the Gold rating underscores the meticulous care and expertise that goes into every bottle.

2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition Silver Medal

  • Award: Silver Medal
  • Significance: In the fiercely competitive arena of the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, Oban’s recognition is a testament to its world-class status. The competition’s rigorous judging process adds weight to this achievement, confirming Oban’s place among the elite in the spirits world.

Oban Distillery Tour Information and Experience

The Oban Distillery offers whiskey enthusiasts and visitors a unique and immersive tour experience. Situated in the heart of Oban, a picturesque Scottish town, the distillery presents an opportunity to explore the world of traditional Scotch whiskey-making. The tour is designed to provide an in-depth understanding of the distillery’s history, processes, and products.

Stages of the Tour

Historical Insight: The tour begins with a historical overview of the distillery, established in 1794. This part of the tour delves into the rich heritage of Oban and the distillery’s role in the town’s development.

Production Process Exploration: Visitors are taken through the various stages of whiskey production, from malting and mashing to fermentation and distillation. This part of the tour is particularly informative for those interested in the technical aspects of whiskey making.

Cask Aging and Warehouse Visit: The tour includes visiting the warehouses where the whiskey is aged in oak casks. This segment highlights the importance of aging in developing the whiskey’s flavor profile.

Tasting Sessions

At the end of the tour, participants are treated to a tasting session. This includes samples of Oban’s classic malts, allowing visitors to appreciate the nuances of flavour developed through the distillery’s processes. The tasting session is often the tour’s highlight, offering a sensory exploration of Oban’s range of whiskies.

Additional Information

Duration and Accessibility: The tour typically lasts about an hour and is accessible to most visitors. It’s advisable to check in advance for any accessibility needs.

Booking and Availability: Tours are available throughout the year, but booking in advance is recommended, especially during peak tourist seasons.

Visitor Center and Gift Shop: The distillery also features a visitor center and a gift shop, where guests can purchase souvenirs and bottles of their favorite Oban whiskies.

The Oban Distillery tour offers a comprehensive and enjoyable experience, combining education, history, and the pleasure of whiskey tasting. It’s a must-visit for anyone interested in Scotch whiskey and the traditions behind its production.

Flask & Barrel Review of Oban Distillery

As a seasoned whiskey collector who’s been on numerous distillery tours, I’ve got to say, my visit to Oban Distillery was a standout experience, worthy of a solid 4.7 out of 5. Here’s my take:

First Impressions – Oban’s quaint charm hits you right off the bat. Nestled in the heart of a picturesque town, the distillery has this welcoming vibe that sets it apart from some of the more commercial spots I’ve visited. It’s not just a distillery; it’s a piece of the town’s heart and history.

The Tour – This was where Oban shined. Their tour guides are knowledgeable and passionate, a real treat for a whiskey nerd like me. They walked us through the history of the distillery, which has been around since 1794, and you can feel the sense of tradition and pride they have in their craft. The tour wasn’t just informative; it was engaging and personal, which you cannot get everywhere.

The Whiskey – Now, onto the main event – the whiskey tasting. Oban’s range is impressive, with each variety offering its unique profile. Their Oban 14-Year-Old is a classic, striking a perfect balance between sweet and smoky. But the real surprise was the Oban Little Bay. Its rich, complex flavors just dance on the palate. As a collector, I appreciate when a distillery can offer something traditional and innovative, and Oban nails this.

Overall Experience – The combination of rich history, expert knowledge, and exquisite whiskey makes Oban Distillery a must-visit for any whiskey lover. The only reason I’m not going full 5/5 is the size of the place – it’s quite compact, which adds to its charm but can feel a bit crowded during peak times. That said, it’s a minor quibble in an otherwise fantastic experience.

Final Thoughts – If you’re a whiskey enthusiast or just getting into the scene, Oban Distillery should definitely be on your list. It’s not just about the whiskey; it’s about the story, the people, and the place. This tour is a journey through Scottish whiskey history, right in the heart of where it all happens.

What To Do Nearby Oban Distillery

Dunollie Castle (Approx. 1 mile from Oban Distillery): This 15th-century castle, home to Clan MacDougall, offers a glimpse into Scottish history with its ruins and the 1745 House Museum. The walk from Oban’s harbour to the castle is scenic and easy.

Oban Chocolate Company (Very close to Oban Distillery): A must-visit for chocolate lovers, this family-owned shop and cafe offers a delightful range of handmade chocolates. You can even peek into the chocolate-making process.

Oban War and Peace Museum (Close to Oban Distillery): Explore the rich cultural history of Oban through artifacts and photographs. The museum, located in the old Oban Times building, also features a piece of the Berlin Wall.

Dunstaffnage Castle and Chapel (Approx. 4 miles from Oban Distillery): This 13th-century castle overlooks Loch Etive and offers insight into the Campbell clan’s history. The site includes the ruins of a chapel where Scottish monarchs and Campbells are buried.

Pulpit Hill (Approx. 2 hours walk from Oban center): Offering stunning views over Oban, the harbour, and McCaig’s Tower, Pulpit Hill is an excellent spot for a scenic hike.

Isle of Kerrera (Ferry from Gallanach, just south of Oban): A short ferry ride takes you to this peaceful island with hiking trails, the historic Gylen Castle, and the lovely Slatrach Bay.

Day Trip to Mull, Staffa, Iona, or Treshnish: Oban serves as a gateway to these beautiful islands. Staffa is known for its basalt columns and Fingal’s Cave, while Iona is a sacred site with centuries of Christian history.

Sea Safari (Departing from Easdale, 16 miles south of Oban): Seafari Adventures offers exciting boat trips to see marine wildlife like whales, seals, and dolphins.

Ganavan Sands (Approx. 2 miles north of Oban): This beach is ideal for a coastal walk with stunning views across to Mull and Lismore.

Castle Stalker (Approx. 25 miles north of Oban): An iconic 14th-century castle set on a small island in Loch Linnhe, known for its picturesque setting and historical significance.

Frequently Asked Questions

What restaurants are near Oban Distillery?

Cuan Mor: It has a rating of 4.3 stars on Google Maps. Located at 60 George St, Oban. For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +441631565078. Their address is 60 George St, Oban PA34 5SD, United Kingdom.

George Street Fish Restaurant & Chip Shop: It has a rating of 4.2 stars on Google Maps. Located at 13-15 George St, Oban. For reservations, you can contact them on their phone at +441631566664.

Taste of Argyll Kitchen: It has a rating of 4.4 stars on Google Maps. Located at 9 Argyll St, Oban. For reservations, you can contact them on their phone at +441631358160. Their address is 9 Argyll St, Oban PA34 5SG, United Kingdom.

What hotels are near Oban Distillery?

The Ranald Hotel: It has a rating of 4.1 stars on Google Maps. Located in Oban. For reservations, you can contact them on their phone at +441631562887. Their address is 41 Stevenson St, Oban PA34 5NA, United Kingdom.

Premier Inn Oban hotel: It has a rating of 4.4 stars on Google Maps. Located in Oban.For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +443301359041. Their address is Shore St, Oban PA34 4NT, United Kingdom.

Great Western Hotel / Coast & Country Hotels Collection: It has a rating of 4.1 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +441631563101. Their address is Corran Esplanade, Oban PA34 5PP, United Kingdom.