Monday, January 3, 2011

Enough talk. Time to drink! Ok, maybe some talk first...

So where do we start?  I decided to go through my whiskies by region.

Scotland is divided up into whisky producing regions, with each region producing whiskies with their own character.  This could be due to water, weather, geographical location, etc.

The Highlands seemed a logical place to start, being the largest of all the regions.  I also had thought it contained whiskies most of us are familiar with - Glenfiddich, The Macallan - but turns out those are from the Speyside region.  I had the last laugh, though - Speyside is actually a subdivision of the Highlands, so I was technically correct.  Here is an excellent link with some more info about the various regions.

Disclaimer: I'm posting my impressions of these whiskies without reading others' opinions.  I am not a professional taster, so my palate may not be as developed as some reviewers you'll see.  I may not get every flavor note you read in the description on their website.  And I'm OK with that.  That's one reason I'm so curious to hear any of your comments and experiences.

We'll begin our delicious tour with Oban 14.  The 14 tells us how old the youngest whisky in the bottle is (now we're getting into what a Single Malt is - more on that next post).  I'm going to try to photograph each as I taste it as well, to give you the whole experience.

Historically, Oban is not one of my favorite whiskies.  I don't remember why, so let's give it a nose.  Green apple is the first thing that hits my nose.  Interesting.  Then a little caramel sweetness.  Not getting much at all in the way of smoke or peat.  Ok how about a taste?

A little biting up front, but it opens up to a nice finish.  A bit of astringency on the finish as well, drying out my mouth and leaving a little heat on my palate and gums.  That caramel sweetness lingers, but it's not overly sweet like some "cigar" malts I've had.  It's actually very nice.  Am I getting just a bit of sea salt?  Yes, but long after I've swallowed.  That's fun.  I've also found the smoke - I didn't notice until I cleared my throat and smelled smoke.  It's almost unnoticeable when drinking.

Let's see what a little water does for it.  About a tablespoon of my well water, which is nice right from the tap.  Really smoothed out the initial alcohol hit.  More of the sweetness is coming through.  I definitely like it better with some water.  Overall, a very nice whisky.


  1. I tend to think of Oban as somewhat insipid. Not sure if I've had the 14 or not, but this is one of those bottles that actually take me a while to finish.

    I could be misremembering things, anyway, as the last time I had it was about three years ago.

  2. I remember it the same way, which is why I thought I didn't like it. Tasting it more critically made me enjoy it more, interestingly enough. It's certainly not a massively flavorful Scotch, but I think that's a hallmark of Highland whiskies in general.

    Aside: anyone else having trouble posting comments in Firefox with their Google account?