Oban is a member of Diageo’s “Classic Malts” collection, representing the Highland region along with Dalwhinnie. Bottled at 43% abv, Oban single malt is aged 14 years although other expressions exist, namely an 18 year version and the new non-age statement (NAS) Oban “Little Bay.” This whisky hails from the town of Oban, located in the western Highland region of Scotland. The Oban distillery isn’t named after the town. Quite the opposite – the town was built around the Oban distillery. That’s a neat story, but there’s good news and bad news here. The good news is that this small distillery produces great whisky. The bummer is there is no room for growth. Because since the town was built around the distillery, there is physically no way the distillery can expand. Oban was founded in 1794, making it one of the oldest whisky distillery around. As mentioned earlier, Oban is on the west coast of Scotland, in the Highland region. It’s placement next to the sea not only earned its nickname “Gateway to the Isles,” it also helps impart some of that maritime essence into its whisky.
On the nose there’s sweet fruitiness upfront, followed by some orange zest and a hint of sea salt. The entry starts off with honey, figs and caramel apple. Underneath is a layer of saltiness, peat and light oak. The oak carries into the medium length dry finish. Very clean.
This is one nice whisky. It’s not overly sweet, but whatever sweetness is there is complimented by salt, peat and oak. This isn’t a fair comparison, but think of salted caramel and how well those flavors work together. This is a great introduction Scotch for bourbon drinkers looking to cross over. Price-wise, Oban 14 year-old shouldn’t hit you wallet too hard. The SRP is $65 for a standard 750ml bottle. Highly recommended.