Despite being one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland – and also one of the few left from the 18th century – Oban counts as one of the smallest with only 650,000 liters produced each year. As a consequence you will only find few standard bottlings available with the 14 year old edition being the most famous. When Oban was established by the west Highland coast in 1794 An t-Òban (Gaelic for The Little Bay) was practically nonexistent as a town. Now, more than 200 years later, the town surrounds the distillery and has grown to around 8,000 inhabitants. Impressively, considering its production size, Oban is one of the 20 most sold single malts in the world and I can understand why. There is not the slightest bite only a thick full bodied creamy texture that slinks down without any effort. This must be one of the smoothest below 16yrs old single malts I have ever tasted! As malty toffee, saccharine, and butterscotch dominate the palate salty flavors emerge after awhile together with a passing touch of spring grass and dried citrus fruits. Like most smooth single malts it is not overly complex and I can’t really find the peat and smoke some people are raving about. Still I was definitely pleasantly surprised by this one.
VERDICT: Exceptionally smooth! This is how I would describe Oban in two words. On top of the smoothness you have a very good balance between caramel and salty sea notes. Highly recommendable.