Whisky Review: Oban 12 Year The Tale of Twin Foxes

, | February 23, 2022

Editor’s Note: This whisky was provided to us as a review sample by Diageo. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.

The 2021 Diageo Special Releases are here. The latest collection strays from the repetitive Rare by Nature and delves deep into thematic fables, or Legends Untold. Eight legendary Scottish distilleries are featured in the Special Releases, and the collection includes some of the most expensive whisky since the 2017 collection. 

The mythical creatures relate to the distilleries based on “the hidden gems that can be found in each corner of the Scottish terrain amongst the lochs and rugged highlands.” From Oban, the 12-year-old The Tale of Twin Foxes represents the best of both worlds and rejoins the Diageo Special Releases this year. Oban is known as the gateway between the Highlands and the Isles. The whisky is distilled a close 208 steps from the sea, which adds maritime brine and island peat to the flavor profile. 

So how did this legend arise? Well, as the fable goes, “wedged between the Highlands and the Isles where Oban’s distillery came to lie, twin foxes were born into light and dark. They were relentless opposites; one with a bright orange coat, possessed the Highland’s gift for lightness and speed. The other, dark as smoke, possessed the Isles’ camouflaged mystique. Each fox contrasted and skillfully balanced the other. At Oban distillery, the dual light and darkness of our sly siblings springs from the amber dram, a distinctive dynamic of opposing energies: notes of the Highlands and the Isles in perfect harmony.”

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The Tale of Twin Foxes features a beautiful illustration of a pair of foxes— one orange, and one black— in the mist along the coast. Ken Taylor has captured haunting details of this legend with his masterful artwork. Diageo goes a step further with a QR code that unlocks an immersive tasting experience and gives life to Taylor’s illustration.

Oban 12-Year The Tale of Twin Foxes review

Oban 12-Year The Tale of Twin Foxes (image via Malts.com)

Tasting Notes: Oban 12 Year The Tale of Twin Foxes

Vital Stats: 56.2% ABV. Coastal Highland single malt matured in ex-bourbon barrels and refill casks. 750ml $115. 

Appearance: Pale straw

Nose: Butterscotch and saltwater taffy remind me of the candy shops lining the main street of a coastal town. Caramel corn also comes through on the nose. There is slight vanillin, but it is more like a waffle cone. The end of the nose reminds me of an elderly lady’s perfume; rose, violet, abundant. 

Palate: The mouthfeel is hot and oily. The whisky starts off minerally and sooty. It is full of sweet French vanilla and caramel. It reminds me of a sugar-crusted Liege waffle.  Heather and smoke only pop out in the background and last on the finish.

The Takeaway


The Tale of Twin Foxes is not like Oban’s other whiskies. It is much sweeter but truly worth tasting. There is a balance to the whisky overall as the tale suggests, but I was hoping for some more of that brininess.

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Courtney Kristjana

Courtney Kristjana is a leading whiskey taster in the country. She left a career in Gerontology after an article on Heather Greene inspired her to follow her passion for whiskey. She is studying to become a Master of Scotch and someday hopes she is nominated for the Keepers of the...