Recently I had the opportunity to share some Oban Scotch with friends. Sitting outside at our Easter picnic, we sat back in the wonderful desert breezy 80o weather. It's perfect weather, and I must say, the Oban is perfect, too.
With hints of honey, smoke (not too much), citrus orange and sea salt, it's a lovely and refreshing Scotch whiskey. If you have never had it - the 14-year-old malt, you'll be missing out.
The town of Oban is in the western highlands, a port town, which accounts for the sea salt hidden deep within the "water of life" as whiskey is known, from its Celtic origins. The distillery opened in 1794, by brothers John and Hugh Stevenson. They operated the place until 1866, then it was bought by Peter Curnstie. Acquired in 1883 by Walter Higgins, it suffered major losses when a major blending company, Pattison's of Leigh, went under. In 1923, it was sold again to Dewars and joined Distiller's Company in 1925. It fell silent from 1931 to 1937, again from 1969 to 1972, when a new still house was built. In 1989 a new visitor's center was added. The business of Oban Distillery has definitely had its ups and downs, but the whiskey itself endures.
My bottle of Oban, a recent birthday present to me, was waiting for the right occasion to be opened and enjoyed. The 14-year is wonderful; there is also an 18-year limited edition (I'll have to try), and a most rare 32-year-old. Sometimes, though, the older is not always the better. It depends on a lot of things, but so far, I am happy with the 14, and so very glad that Oban has ridden the waves of financial adversity to be on our liquor store shelves today.
Oban means "little bay" in ancient Celtic, but there is an ocean of flavor awaiting!