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Image Credit:



Kirsten Wilson
*Senior Site Manager



Barrel Head


Barrel Head

head whisky maker(s)

Barrel Head


Barrel Head

Year Founded

Barrel Head


Oban distillery, a unique coastal and urban whisky maker, holds a rich history intertwined with the town of Oban itself. Established in 1794 by the enterprising Stevenson brothers, John and Hugh, Oban's origins are closely linked to the town's development. The Stevenson brothers laid the foundation for the town of Oban in 1793 and established a brewery at its core. A year later, they recorded their first distillation activity, although the official record dates back to 1799.

Oban's ownership changed hands over the years, with notable transitions in 1866 when it was sold to Peter Cumstie and later to John Walter Higgin in 1883. Higgin played a pivotal role in expanding the distillery's reputation, especially after the arrival of the railway from Glasgow in 1888. In 1898, Alexander Edward took over ownership, solidifying Oban's place in the whisky industry. The distillery passed into the hands of DCL (now Diageo) in 1930. Facing a potential closure in 1968 due to industry changes, Oban's fate was reversed with the construction of a new stillhouse in 1972.

Oban made its mark in the emerging single malt category in 1979 with the release of a 12-year-old expression, later rebranded as a 14-year-old when it joined the Classic Malts Selection in 1989. This move significantly contributed to its growing popularity, particularly in the US market. Today, Oban distillery remains small in scale, equipped with just two onion-shaped stills and traditional worm tubs for condensation. It intentionally produces less than its capacity to preserve its unique character, which is characterized by a light, intensely fruity spirit with mineral spiciness and hints of saltiness after aging in refill casks.

-Written (Mostly) by Robots-

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