Distiller: Oban. Region: Highlands. ABV: 43%. Age: 14 years. Price: $60-70.
Oban is part of Diageo’s Classic Malts line, and is beloved in the U.S. for being rich, versatile, and approachable. And for being easy to pronounce.
Chicago’s weather calls for very specific whiskies in the spring, and I’d say the Oban 14 fits the bill perfectly. The nose has gentle heather, with hints of toffee, pine, and pear. The palate is more of this gentle wash, with an underlay of pan drippings. And the sustained finish is a minor miracle, one that grows in strength, only to ease away for a rolling delight. It’s one of my faves and fits our ever-changing weather beautifully.
If you’re looking to explore the distillery further, there’s an excellent annual Oban Distiller’s Edition, as well as a no-age-statement Little Bay, which has both fans and detractors. We’ll bring you a review of the latter soon.
Slàinte, friends! – TM
Distiller: Oban. Region: Highlands. ABV: 43%. Age: 14-15 years. Price: $90-120.
Oban is one of the smallest distilleries in Scotland, but a popular single malt in the U.S.–with the joke/not-joke reason being that people aren’t afraid to try to pronounce it.
It’s got plenty more going for it. The standard Oban 14 is an excellent example of richness, balance, and approachability, and easy one to recommend to just about anybody.
Oban’s annual Distiller’s Editions up the game in a great way. The standard 14-year-old is given a very welcome finish in Montilla Fino for an additional 6-18 months.
I first had this excellent 2013 Edition at that year’s WhiskyFest Chicago, and greeted it like an old friend when I recently got to revisit it. The nose is hugely, bewitchingly aromatic, with hothouse flowers, ginger, and allspice. The palate has lots of buttery, biscuity malt, together with the spice from the palate. The finish brings dried fruit rinds and white pepper.
Lovely mouthfeel, and it holds its own at 43% ABV…though a cask strength of this would really be something.
Slàinte, friends! – BO