Before we review Oban 18 Year, a word about its cousin Oban 14 Year (Oban 14 was reviewed here). Oban 14 is my father’s favorite scotch, and his sons (and son-in-law) have embraced it as the official scotch of the family.
Graduation? Oban. Baptism? Oban. First Communion. Oban. Matrimony? Oban.
So we were excited when Oban released an 18 year version. We unboxed the bottle, poured a dram, and investigated.
Oban 18 Year vs Oban 14 Year
It’s good. Is it better than Oban 14? That depends. Do you already love everything about Oban 14 like we do? If so, then paying $120 for Oban 18 may not be worth it.
Compared to Oban 14, Oban 18 is:
- less sweet
- less toffee
- more spicy
- more salty
- more oaky (it has 4 extra years on wood)
Cousins not Brothers
Oban 18 certainly tastes more like the longer aged single malts. However, if you had never told me that Oban 18 existed and you gave Oban 18 year me in a blind test, I don’t know if I would have identified it as “something like Oban 14.” It is a different scotch. More like a cousin and less like a brother.
I imagine that Oban 18 Year will earn its way into family gatherings as “our favorite scotch 2.0,” but Oban 14 Year is still the taste of our familial bond, and imagine it will be the version to flow at funerals.