I do like to be beside the seaside.

The distillery you could throw a stone into the sea from – Oban

Taste Review – Oban 14

To conclude last week’s visit to Oban Distillery, the guide handed out a measly portion of Oban 14. I wasn’t too sure of it, so had decided to have another one in the whisky bar upstairs.

The key taste profile is one of smoke, orange peel, salt and honey. During the tour we were told the barley is malted using a small amount of peat to give the smoke. The length of the fermentation gives the citrus notes and the ex-Bourbon Cask gives the honey. Nobody knows where the salt enters the process, but as the worm tubs used for condensing the liquid from the stills are in the roof, plus the fact the distillery is less than 300 steps to the sea, there is a good bet that there is where it gets its salt. Barrels are not matured on site, but elsewhere in the lowlands.

The dram in the distillery bar

Age

14 years old

Strength

43% a.b.v

Colour

Light golden pine

Nose

Slight smoke, citrus

Palate

Oak, figs, a wee bit of citrus, orange peel, spice.

Finish

Medium, spice, smoke, honey and sea salt.

Conclusion

It’s a good enough malt, but it wasn’t good enough for me to buy a full size bottle. Diageo seem to miss a trick yet again by the dreaded chill filtration, which while it ensures a clear whisky after adding water, removes some of the goodness and taste. I’d increase the abv to the correct side of 46% as perhaps more alcohol would give a fuller flavour.

Would I buy another? No. Wee bit too bland for me, and as it’s almost central in a whisky map, would give a beginner an excellent start in single malts. On this basis I can recommend. Certainly an easy drinker, and I wouldn’t turn my nose up at it. As I said, I really liked the cask strength sample, and if I saw an independent bottling of this, I would buy it.

My 20CL bottle cost me £15.95 at the distillery, expect to pay £46 for a full size bottle in the UK.

Slainte Mhath!

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