The Story of Oban Gin – Part 1: The Origins

Over the festive period, I headed home to Oban for a well-earned rest and Hogmanay celebrations. When meeting-up with friends and family, one question was on everyone’s lips – what do you know about Oban Gin? Well, where to begin?

Although I’ve been aware of the concept of Oban Gin for over two and a half years, the lack of progress has meant I’ve kept a keen eye on it over the past 12 months. Information isn’t easy to come by, but it’s out there and I thought I’d bring it all together in one place.

So, here it is. Over the next five days, I’m going to tell the definitive story of Oban Gin. From its beginnings, to recent developments, right up to where I think the concept is going.

Before I start, a few disclaimers. The information you’ll find in these blogs is, to the best of my knowledge factual. If anyone would like to dispute the facts, I’ll happily listen to their argument but would need to be presented with evidence to the contrary – “I didn’t like what you wrote” isn’t going to cut it.

I’m discounting rumour and hearsay as a) it’s bad journalism and b) it’s potentially libellous. However, I won’t shy away from pointing out awkward facts in a bid to explain a story which, until now, has defied explanation.

Ready? Well let’s dive in!

How did it start?
As with most start-up brands, Oban Gin started on social media with posts on both Twitter and Facebook. And the idea of it got me excited.

As regular readers of this blog will know, my passion for whisky was fired by my time working as a tour guide at Oban Distillery. For over 200 years, the distillery has been producing first class whisky to send to the four corners of the globe; and taking my home town’s name with it.

Now, off the back of the current gin renaissance, someone planned to launch our town’s second spirit – Oban Gin. Personally, I find that the gins coming from Scotland – Rock Rose, Botanist, Pickerings, Edinburgh Gin, the list goes on – are some of the best on the market, and hoped that Oban Gin would live up to, if not exceed, the high bar these brands have already set.

The story continues
If my memory serves me correctly, those first social media posts were made in mid-to-late 2014. Normally I’d go back and double-check the relevant social media accounts. Unfortunately, the @ObanGinCo account was recently purged of every single Tweet ever posted (Tweeting recommenced on 28 January). The Facebook account has gone through a similar amount of expunging, with only a smattering of posts remaining.

And since those first posts in 2014 we’ve seen…nothing. Well, maybe not nothing. Those following Oban Gin online have been presented with plenty of teasers – distillery plans, potential casks, empty bottles, pictures of stills – with the distillery and its gin always just over the next horizon.

Also, I believe a few competition winners may have received a small sample bottle of oak aged gin in the latter part of last year. Whether you can call this Oban Gin or not is up for debate. However, I’ve never met or spoken to anyone who has tasted this liquid.

Well, that’s the start of the story but there’s still much more to come. Check back tomorrow when we’ll be looking at who is behind the project.