Founded in 1794, it is famous for many reasons: during the 19th century it was owned by the Pattison brothers, the same ones who committed various frauds until their empire collapsed with a dozen companies. Oban was silent between 1931 and 1937 and between 1969 and 1972. In the late 1960s and early 1970s the distillery was rebuilt, and Oban has been working continuously since 1972. The “colosseum” overlooking Oban looks Roman in style, but the Romans have never gotten this far north. Also, if it had been built in Roman times, it would surely have been a ruin by now. The building is actually known as “McCaig’s Folly”. A local banker named John Stuart McCaig gave the order to begin construction in 1897. Although this was the time of one of the largest whiskey booms in history, unemployment in the area was extremely high. Building McCaig’s madness was job creation as much as it was an act of madness. However, after around £ 5,000 was spent, construction stopped and the building was never finished. Maybe that’s okay; McCaig appears to have planned to fill the openings with statues of his ancestors.
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