Oban is part of the large Diageo conglomerate that has a dozen Scotches under its brand. Whether you like your single malt to be produced under the shadow of a corporate overlord or not, there can be no denying the whisky’s quality. Oban is a picturesque town in the west of Scotland facing the island of Kerrera and the Isle of Mull. The town grew up around the distillery that was founded in 1794, and was aided by a poem about the area by Sir Walter Scott (Lord of the Isles). The geography places a large part in forming this whisky, perched as it is against the sea while at the same time never far from the rich hills and valleys of the interior. The distillery only has two offerings, this 14 year and the Distiller’s Edition. You can be sure it is high on Scotchology’s list of places to visit, both for the town and for the Scotch.
Age: 14 years
Nose: Nutty, maple, brine, strawberry tart
Palate: Syrup, salt, brine, spice, floral, maple
Finish: Malt, almond, bourbon
Comments: Water not required but can be helpful.
Adam – I have a lot of fond associations with this Scotch, one of my first forays into single malt-dom after the introductory Glenfiddich and Glenlivet bottles. Even to this day, the Oban seems to check off a lot of expectations I have for good Scotch in one broad sweep. It also occupies that nice price point of being a step beyond an introductory Scotch, yet not in the stratosphere price-wise. It also rewards you for learning your whisky basics beforehand, offering a more complex spirit. The town of Oban is seen as the gateway to the islands that were often populated by Vikings during the Middle Ages. This makes sense, given the raw edges hidden amid the island flavoring. Like longships among the lochs.
Kate – When I first started drinking Scotch, I liked this a lot more than I do now. It’s a lot harsher than I remember.
Meghan – Still a delight. A warm buttery sweetness on the nose transitions to nutty sweetness on the tip of the tongue. The finish leaves me yearning for smoke but the malty bourbon aspect is nice. The 14 isn’t as smooth or exciting as the Distiller’s Edition by Oban but a perfect intro Scotch for those looking to truly imbibe.