Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Review / Oban Young Teddy

This whisky is a distillery exclusive bottling from the west Highland distillery of Oban. Oban Young Teddy is the second whisky in The Macleans Series, which honours the distilling legacy of the Maclean family and their long association with the Oban distillery. It follows Old Teddy, which was released in 2019 - this was dedicated to Old Teddy Maclean, their long-serving distillery manager who began working there in 1953. To read our review of Oban Old Teddy - click here. The new whisky is dedicated to his son, recently-retired Young Teddy Maclean, who joined in 1985. The legacy continues as Young Teddy's son, Derek Maclean, joined the distillery staff in 2017. 

The Oban distillery is located on the west coast of Scotland in the town Oban. Oban translates as 'little bay' from Gaelic and the town has grown up around the distillery. The Oban distillery was founded in 1794 by Hugh and John Stevenson in the buildings of a former brewery. It is owned by Diageo and the 14 years old expression forms part of their Classic Malts series. Oban is one of the smallest distilleries in their Scotch portfolio with an annual production capacity of just 870,000 litres.

Oban Young Teddy is finished in ex-Oloroso and ex-Palo Cortado sherry casks and is bottled at 50.8% ABV. There are just 4,542 bottles and these will be exclusively available from the visitor centre shop at the distillery in Oban until sold out. A bottle will cost £195. 
"This bottling is incredibly special to me and my family as we continue to build the Maclean’s legacy at the Oban distillery for generations to come. The result is this truly special whisky with rich, fruity flavours coming through. This is a gift to our distillery fans and visitors from our family to theirs." 
Young Teddy Maclean. 


Our tasting notes

The colour is vibrant gold and the nose is sweet, bright and uplifting. Aromas of fresh green apple and toffee lead the way and are supported by sultana, hazelnut and something delicately floral. This is most reminiscent of citrus blossom. Underneath are further aromas of milk chocolate, salted caramel and a hint of walnut.

On the palate this whisky is equally as bright as the nose suggests. Initial notes of honey and toffee give way to a distinct fruitiness and sweetness. There is also a pleasant ginger and pepper-like warmth due to the strength. Green apple is again evident but feels more stewed and cooked now. The combination of these elements makes us think of caramelised apple or apple crumble.

Underneath is a robust maltiness, which becomes more biscuity and cereal-like with time. The ginger note grows too and evolves into gingerbread. The nuttiness develops well also and has elements of hazelnut praline, hazelnut and toasted almond. In the background are hints of salty brine and custard powder, plus the faintest whiff of peat smoke. A final pinch of white pepper and cinnamon round things off nicely.

The finish is of decent length and is warming and vibrant. The sweeter characteristics slowly fade to reveal the biscuity malt and peppery gingery spices. These linger well to drag out the length. A hint of salt adds to the freshness and accentuates everything.

What's the verdict?

The Oban Young Teddy is delicious, vibrant and lively. The finish in the ex-sherry casks, particularly the ex-Palo Cortado, has elevated this whisky superbly. These have added a lovely nuttiness that works well with the other characteristics on display. 

We much prefer it to the Old Teddy, which we tried some years ago. The price is a little heavy, especially given that there is no indication of age, but if you are visiting the distillery then we suggest sampling it if possible and then making up your own mind.

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