Skip to Content

Balvenie 14 vs Oban 14: Which is Better for You?

Discover the differences between Balvenie 14 vs Oban 14 in this in-depth comparison and decide which Single Malt is better for You!

Balvenie 14 Caribbean Cask

balvenie-14-caribbean-cask
NoseVanilla, banana, pineapple, pepper
PalateVanilla, honey, ripe fruit, tobacco
FinishLong, vanilla, oak spice
Alcohol content86 proof (43% ABV)
How to drinkAdd water
Similar toBalvenie 12

The nose is quite sweet as it’s full of ripe tropical fruit along a dash of black pepper.

One the palate, Balvenie 14 is really smooth, full of pleasant sweetness with no burn at all. Flavor hits with vanilla and honey at first, followed by hints of ripe fruit, along a tobacco note.

The finish lingers with pleasant warmth, vanilla and just a tad of oak spice.

Balvenie 14 is pleasantly fruity, high in notes coming from the Caribbean casks but well balanced against traditional whisky flavors.

This is an exceptionally smooth and mild dram, sweet and incredibly easy to drink as it shows no harshness, smoke, peat or weird tasting notes.

This is a great option for anyone looking to break into Single Malt Whisky.

If you have tried the Balvenie 12 I can assure you this is an upgrade, it is also smooth but more flavorful with a soothing warmth at the end that the 12 year lacks.

Overall, this the Balvenie 14 is a pleasing Scotch and solid option as an “everyday whisky” due to its smoothness.

What makes this whisky special is that it first aged in traditional American oak barrels and then finished in casks that were seasoned with a blend of fine Caribbean rums hand-picked by David C. Stewart.

Stewart is the man that came up with the idea of wood finishing, a process in which Scotch is matured in one type of cask, such as ex-Bourbon barrels and then transferred into a second cask type such as ex-sherry or ex-rum.

Learn how it compares to the Lagavulin 16!

There are a few things worth knowing about the Balvenie 14:

  • Gold at the International Wine & Spirit Competition 2019.

  • Double Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2011.

  • Balvenie is a Speyside whisky distiller located in Dufftown and owned by William Grant & Sons.

Oban 14

oban-14
NoseRipe fruit, orange peel, smoke
PalateDried fruit, pear, apple, cinnamon
FinishLong, oak, baking spice, salt
Alcohol content86 proof (43% ABV)
How to drinkAdd water
Similar toTalisker 10, Caol Ila 12

The nose is quite good as it kicks-off with a ripe fruit note, along citrus peel and a touch of smoke.

On the palate, Oban 14 provides a nice mouthfeel as the body feels creamy. Flavor hits with dried fruit at first, followed by pear and apple shrouded in baking spice and a gentle tad of smoke.

The finish is long and pleasantly warm, leaving an aftertaste of oak, baking spice and salt.

Oban 14 has a very pleasant smoky taste that doesn’t overwhelm other notes making it a good choice for those who want smoke in moderation when compared to Smoky Islay Malts that offer blasts of smoke.

This is a nice and easy sip that you can drink either neat or adding a dash of water bringing additional sweetness and more oak, although I like it as is.

This single malt was aged for 14 years in ex-bourbon barrels and you can tell as there are many bourbon-like notes in it. So if you are fond of this liquor and want to add a tad of smoke Oban is a no-brainer.

Oban is one of Scotland’s smallest distilleries as it only has 2 pot stills, making it a midget when compared to Glenfiddich that has 30.

It dates back to 1794 when it was founded by the brothers John and Hugh Stevenson in the Port of Oban which was named after the distillery and not the other way around!

Overall, this is pretty good single malt Scotch for those who want restrained smoky notes.

There are a few facts worth knowing about this whisky:

  • Oban ages for 14 years in ex-bourbon barrels.

  • Earned a Gold Medal at the 2013 International Wine & Spirit Competition.

Balvenie 14 vs Oban 14: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

WhiskyPrice
Balvenie 14$90
Oban 14$95

Balvenie 14 vs Oban 14: Which is better?

Balvenie is sweeter and smoother

WhiskeyBalvenie 14Oban 14
Nose
Body
Palate
Finish
Value
  • If you want an overly smooth and sweet dram, with no harshness, with no off-putting, peat or smoke and the right amount of warmth, then the Balvenie 14 is for you.

  • The rum cask finish added rich sweet notes to this whisky that balances nicely against Balvenie’s signature smoothness.

  • If you prefer a more traditional Scotch whisky profile, with a limited amount of peat and yet quite flavorful then the Oban 14 is for you.

  • Oban 14 also makes a solid choice for those who want to taste peaty whisky before going for the heavyweights in this category such as Ardbeg or Lagavulin.

Personally, I prefer the Oban over the Balvenie as I’m fond of peaty notes, but I’m aware that peat and smoke are a deal-breaker for many folks.

Clynelish 14 vs Oban 14: Which Single Malt Wins?

Saturday 3rd of September 2022

[…] Balvenie 14, Caol Ila 12 […]

Macallan 12 Sherry Oak vs Oban 14: Which Single Malt Wins?

Monday 29th of August 2022

[…] Oban 14 has a very pleasant smoky taste that doesn’t overwhelm other notes making it a good choice for those who want smoke in moderation when compared to Smoky Islay Malts that offer blasts of smoke. […]

Balvenie 12 vs Balvenie 14: Discover Which is Better for You!

Saturday 12th of March 2022

[…] Related article: Balvenie 14 vs Oban 14: Which is Better for You? […]

Balvenie 14 vs Lagavulin 16: Discover Which is Better for You!

Friday 11th of March 2022

[…] Related article: Balvenie 14 vs Oban 14: Which is Better for You? […]