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The Ultimate Tasting pt.1 – Oban Distiller’s Edition (1998/2013, OB, 43%)

malt mill... da impazzire!
malt mill… da impazzire!

Last night we had the privilege of taking part in the Ultimate Whisky Tasting, an event organized by Milano Whisky Festival and Diageo: none other than Franco Gasparri, Keeper of the Quaich and master ambassador of the international colossus, presented five very interesting bottlings to the thirty enthusiasts present. And what a parterre, even in the stands! There was the élite of Italian malt, from Pino Perrone to Max Righi, from Davide Terziotti to Mauro Leoni, without forgetting the immense Giorgio D’Ambrosio, who had the heart to bring one of the only two bottles of Malt Mill in the world… But let’s get back to the glasses. We started with an Oban Distiller’s Edition 2013, followed by a Talisker Distiller’s Edition 2013, the Rosebank 21 yo of 2011, to close on the real big names of the evening, drawn from the list of Special Releases 2013: Port Ellen 34 yo and Lagavulin 37 yo, two bottles almost unattainable given the prohibitive cost. But we’ll come back to these last two goodies next week: today we’re releasing some tight tasting notes of the first malt we tasted last night, an Oban just over 14 years old finished (as it’s customary for the Distiller’s Edition series) in Montilla Fino sherry. We’re definetely curious because we really like Oban so much, but there are very few bottlings out there; and speaking about Special Release, we would have loved to taste the 20-year-old released in November…

oban_distillers_edition_2013

N: lots of honey, lots of dehydrated fruit (Gasparri mentioned apricot); strawberry jam, a hint of caramel; the ‘sweetness’ of ripe fruit brings to mind a lovely aberration of British cuisine, the banoffie pie. Then, a slightly herbaceous, bitter tip. With time, a delicious note of citrus (chinotto) seems to open up, very pleasant.

P: on the palate there is a savoury note, normally typical of the distillery, which, however, remained on the sidelines on the nose. It seems perhaps a little alcoholic, but it is still rather sweet, especially when it unfolds citrus (bitter orange, still chinotto) and honeyed suggestions. We recognized a note of tea.

F: not very long, of course, but pleasant, consistent with what we found on the palate (honey and citrus fruits).

Davide gave a reverse interpretation, but we liked the nose, while palate and finish seemed less complex and less exciting; anyway, a good whisky, there’s nothing to say – certainly better (to our taste) than Talisker, which seemed to betray too much the qualities of the ‘starting’ distillate (we won’t propose tasting notes for Talisker, let’s refer to another batch we tasted here). Our rating will be 84/100. Not bad, for just the beginning of #milanowhiskyweek…

Recommended soundtrack: David Bowie – China Girl.

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