Review No.98. Oban 14 Year Old

Oban is another distillery under Diageo’s ownership and it is one of smallest distilleries they own.  So understandably, their range is not extensive.  You will easily come across this 14 year old but they also have a distillers edition and Little Bay.  The 14 year old is their core bottle in the range and at about £48 seems not too expensive. Oban describe their style as being fruity rich with coastal/smokey characteristics – so potentially a good introduction to peat for newcomers or a good option for those that are not into strongly peated whiskies but appreciate some of the qualities that peat brings to whisky.  I got this as a 20cl bottle which I have to commend Diageo for as this as I think it provides the perfect amount for you to dip your toes in and know what you are getting into without committing to a a full size bottle as approx. £50.


Whisky: Oban 14 Year Old Single Malt Whisky, 43%

Nose: Coastal, honey, mixed dry fruits, cinnamon, spiced orange, oak

Taste: Dried fruits, honey, malt, pepper, sea spray, roasted nuts

Finish: Pepper, oak, roasted almonds nuts

Score: 3.25

Summary: There’s a nice combination of flavours at play here from the coastal notes to the spicy notes.  I found it to be quite complex and difficult to get to know initially.  A drop or two of water and some time helped with that and as a result I was finding a bit more beneath that initial generic coastal and spice characteristics.  Spiced orange, roasted nuts and pepper come to the fore so I would guess that sherry casks are used in some part of the maturation process but I am unable find any definitive answer to this.  The coastal savouriness could be down to peat but again I am not sure if this contains peated malt or whether ex-peat casks were used.  In summary this is a complex single malt that has got me wondering how they put these flavours together.


Scoring scale: My scores reflect a balance of the overall experience, availability and cost for a whisky,

1 – not to my preference

2 – tastes fine but does not excite me

3 – more to my liking and would revisit occasionally

4 – very much to my liking and would consider as a regular feature on my whisky shelf

5 – permanent feature on my whisky shelf


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  • Toby Field

    This was my epiphany whisky. It really opened my eyes up (and palate) to what a whisky could be. I was surprised at how a little smoke could change how you feel about whisky in general. The fact that a drink could be so different from the cheaper commercial brands everyone has tried. The nuances of sweet, spicy and smoky, all in a single drink. I’m yet to buy a bottle to add to my cabinet as I am constantly wanting to try new brands to find new flavours. For me, it would be a 4.

    p.s. I like your scoring system. Much better than the 100 point scale.