Whisky Archives – Oban 14 year, Deanston 12 year, The Six Isles and Yellow Spot

Another from the archives… from June 2013 and my 1st whisky post on EverydayAsia. Hope you enjoy!

Tasting Notes from 20 June 2013

Following our standard format, we blind tasted before revealing the whisky. This month featured: Oban 14 year, Deanston 12 year, The Six Isles and Yellow Spot.

“Oh us fortunate few! What an evening it was!”

Oban 14 year – Golden amber colour. A light fruity sweet nose. Unexpectedly oily, chewy body with a spicy bite yet smooth. Short finish. Felt familiar, nice yet not exceptional.

Oban 14 year (photo: Carissa Hickling)

Deanston 12 year – A little ‘extra’ brought out by our host for those who missed trying it in an earlier meeting. Nuanced nose with over ripe fruit, sweet and spicy on the palate, lovely finish with a hint of spice that slowly dissipated. Delightful!

Deanston (Photo: Carissa Hickling)

The Six Isles – A vatted malt with single malts from the Scottish Islands: Islay, Jura, Mull, Arran, Skye and Orkney, this one kept us guessing! Quite peaty on the nose with hints of spice and other elements. Burnt ash, rich, oily on the palate yet with only a drop or two of water transformed into an exquisite smooth sweet whisky that would even pair well with desert. A lovely mellow finish. What a wonderful surprise!

The Six Isles (Photo: Carissa Hickling)

Yellow Spot 12 year – From Ireland, a single pot still Irish whisky produced for Mitchell & Son of Dublin, matured in bourbon, sherry and Malaga casks. The nose was fresh and sweet with hints of a complexity to come. On the palate, initially a blend of sea salt and honey, it rounded out with chocolate to fruit, supported by a woody robustness. The finish was particularly superb! Complex, with a gorgeous flavour that lingered…

It has garnered some very well deserved praise from Jim Murray (and us)! An exceptional whisky that hit all our favourite counts for a wonderful malt.

Yellow Spot (Photo: Carissa Hickling)

Any different opinions? Any recommendations along the lines of Yellow Spot?

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Oban 14 year 43%

In the whisky department, we all have a familiar friend or two… This would certainly be the case for the Oban 14 year.

It also is one of those whiskies that just keeps on resurfacing… Our original Whisky tasting group enjoyed it in August 2011 and June 2013... and it cropped up in our Whisky Ladies November 2015 tasting session.

There is a reason for it – you know what you are going to get with Oban. Its profile has managed to maintain a certain consistency over the years.

In my case, it is an early evening drink of choice with a dear friend in Singapore. I see Oban and I think of some most enjoyable evenings with merry conversations accompanied by a dram or two with her.


Oban 14 year 43%
  • Nose – Sherry, berry, apple, pears, a little leathery but overall fruity, some citrus orange peel, honey sweetness
  • Palate – Apple juice, cherry, a puff of smoke, nutmeg, nicely balanced, enough to chew on to satisfy without being heavy
  • Finish – Settled into a gentle smoke
  • Comments – “Aaaaahh! Coming home to an old familiar friend!”
Such a contrast from the Nikka which was so unpredictably contradictory… to the point of almost being contrary.
Oban is an elegant, something to enjoy with friends early evening, it isn’t complicated, it isn’t challenging however it is just exceedingly enjoyable.

Here is what they say:

A hint of peat smoke, combined with a salty maritime flavour. Citrus orangey notes are also present in both the nose and on the palate, and the sweeter honeyed notes give our malt a smooth silky finish.

Other whiskies sampled by our Whisky Ladies in November 2015 included:

Forty Creek Confederation Oak Reserve 40%

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Whisky Ladies November tasting adventures – take two!

Our lovely ladies gathered not once but twice in November!

After a Cask Strength Diwali featuring Glenfarclas 105 60%, Chichibu 2009 63.1%, A’bunadh 35 60.3%… we were ready for a change of pace.

Shruti's Pic

Photo courtesy of our host @ShrutiS

Our line-up included:

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Whisky Archives – Penderyn Sherrywood, Madeira and Peated with Oban 14

As both our formal March and April monthly tasting sessions were cancelled, I started to poke around my ‘Whisky Archives’.

I stumbled upon old scribbled notes from when we tried three expressions from the same distillery (Penderyn) and closed with an Oban. I believe it was a 2011 tasting and there were no photos either so have relied on alternate sources (duly acknowledged). I found the tasting notes frustratingly ‘sparse’ – clearly drafted before I took the mantle of ‘chronicler’ seriously!

Welcome to Wales Wysgi

Little did we know we were about to be introduced to ‘wysgi’ from Wales!

Penderyn is found in the foothills of the Brecon Beacons. It has the distinction of being the only whisky distillery in Wales, launched in 2000 after the Welsh whisky industry was shut down in 1894. Penderyn whiskies are typically first aged in bourbon barrels – predominantly Buffalo Trace – and then finished in Madeira or other casks.

As always, our tasting was ‘blind’ followed by the reveal…

Penderyn Sherrywood NAS 46%

  • Nose – Jackfruit, perfumy, sweetness and light, honey, after a bit a hint of zesty lemon
  • Palate – Starts well, lovely on the palate however not much body, lighter than we were in the mood for…
  • Finish – Slightly spicy then softens
  • Thoughts – Ladylike and almost… well… bland…
Penderyn Sherrywood (XX)

Penderyn Sherrywood (Welsh-Whisky.co.uk)

Penderyn Madeira NAS 46%

  • Nose – Varnish, bit of caramel, lots of flowery perfumed notes and quite sweet, fruity with banana and melons?
  • Palate – Some body, a little bolder, woody, more character than the Sherrywood
  • Finish – Short, bit of fruit yet also bitter
Penderyn Madeira (xx)

Penderyn Madeira (Welsh-Whisky.co.uk)

Penderyn Peated NAS 46%

  • Nose – Smelly socks, vanilla, sweet, hint of leather, citrus – quite a contrast to the earlier expressions
  • Palate – Charcoal, wood oil, again the citrusy element, peppercorns
  • Finish – Peppery but doesn’t stick around long or morph into anything further
  • Thoughts – Had the stamp of a bourbon cask with peat? Interesting but not something that really grabs you.
Penderyn Peated (http://www.welsh-whisky.co.uk/Our-Whiskies/Penderyn-Peated.aspx)

Penderyn Peated (Welsh-Whisky.co.uk)

We then shifted gear to a whisky perhaps double the age (or more!?) of the Penderyn expressions to the highlands with Oban.

Oban 14 year 43%

  • Nose – Spicy, fruity, orange peel
  • Palate – Spice, nutmeg
  • Finish – Lingers… finally!

Quote: “Early evening drink”

The last time I had the Oban 14 year I did not prepare any tasting notes. It was in Singapore late 2014 when I enjoyed an absolutely delightful evening at home with a gal pal. Nothing could have been a better dram for our mood, mad conversations, laughter and sheer joy in catching up after ages. It was indeed an early evening which grew into a later evening and the Oban kept us company all along.

Oban 14 year (Whisky Exchange)

Oban 14 year (Whisky Exchange)

Overall impression

When I look back on the scribbles, they seem a bit uncharitable. At the time, we were spoilt with a series of beautifully aged and balanced Scottish whiskies and were just starting to poke our nose and palate around newer entrants.

Contradictorily while our ability to discern nuances has increased, as a group we have also grown more adventuresome and open to the range of whisky styles. We no longer expect a whisky should be robust and instead delight in the more exquisite delicate notes too just as much as we embrace the peaty or sherry monsters out there.

We can now also put better into perspective more youthful whiskies and go through a re-calibration of ‘young, shows promise’ vs ‘erhm just doesn’t cut it for us’.

I’m also a massive fan of giving a whisky multiple tasting opportunities. Once is simply not enough. It would be interesting to revisit the Penderyn expressions to see what we would discover today. And I know the Oban is a favourite of a few.

If you would like to check out some ‘real’ tasting notes for the Penderyn expressions, check out:

As for the Oban:


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