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McCarthy's Oregon Single Malt Whiskey

(70cl, 42.5%)

McCarthy's Oregon Single Malt Whiskey

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McCarthy's Single Malt Bottling Note

McCarthy's Oregon Single Malt Whiskey comes from the Clear Creek Distillery in Portland, Oregon. Interestingly, it's made with peated barley brought in from Scotland, resulting in a rather peaty flavour profile. It's matured for 3 years in Oregon oak casks. Over the years, batches of McCarthy's Oregon Single Malt Whiskey received plenty of favourable words from the likes of Jim Murray and Michael Jackson.

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McCarthy's Oregon Single Malt Whiskey Reviews

Excellent!

Excellent whisky, wish I'd bought more1

27th August 2020

Loving every second of it!

Make no mistake... this is NOT a scotch because it’s not from Scotland. This whiskey has smooth peaty notes with that warm after glow we all love in a good whiskey. Cheers!

7th May 2020

Nothing American about it!

Make no mistake... this is scotch! But it is very good. Their barley is imported, which is somewhat disappointing because OR is near the heart of American barley country! Even so, as it stands alone, it is nearly on par with Caol Ila 12.

11th September 2019

My favorite domestic whisky!

Until now, I haven't found any domestic whiskey comparable to the flavorful single malt whisky from Scotland. The overtones are reminiscent but distinct from my favorite peaty flavored whiskys Lagavulin and Laphroaig. I'm buying more! - Stan

22nd September 2018

Smoky Islay Style from the USA!

Eyes:

No tube or packaging box. Attractive dark olive green tinted bottle with classy front and rear labels. Useful information sans offensive marketing junk. Moderately concave base, nicely cylindrical bottle of average height. Respectable design all around featuring pleasing aesthetics. Spirit itself I’d call pale medium-straw in color. Label doesn’t specify no coloring so I imagine it is. That said, the shade looks natural enough to indicate minimal coloring. I’m delighted to witness the slow legs and remarkable viscosity for a whiskey of this young age. I’m a big fan of thicker oily textures as per some Bowmore or Caol Ila. Confirmed to be non-chill filtered which results in a murky character I always enjoy. Feels more legit that way.

Nose:

Predominant property for me is antiseptic alcohol singing harmony to the main melody of a moderate, earthy peat smoke with a PPM at least as much as Bowmore but likely closer to the southern Islay guys in level. This nose is surprisingly similar to Ardbeg 10 sans briney salinity or complexity. The McCarthy’s smoke I’d characterize as earthy and medicinal but not as muscular or brazen like southern Islay. Behind the alcohol and smoke lies a supporting damp, grassy character which may be likely attributed to the peat mustyness. Seems lurking underneath is a sweet note I can’t quite place. After finishing a dram, what remains in the glass is yummy musty peat accompanying a super delicious but faint aroma of smoked brown sugar ham! I was gobsmacked at this unexpected discovery. A shame it’s so faint and not more apparent in the spirit itself per my olfactory abilities. I could happily sniff this glass for quite a while but continuing on…

Mouth:

Tastes like its nose indicates. Light antiseptic alcohol burn with the moderate predominant earthy, peat smoke. I specify “moderate” since it again doesn’t totally wallop you with prolonged burlyness like southern Islay. Thicker viscosity on the eyes is thankfully very apparent here while swishing around this pleasant nectar - beautifully substantial, oily mouth feel. I’m not detecting much else on the palate. Feels fairly rounded and subdued, lacking any sharp blatant element that wants to steal the show like a peppery Talisker bite. Short to medium finish at best. Some lingering grassy or damp vegetal character enveloped in a thin sheen of its characteristic musty peat smoke which dissipates quickly. I insist on using the phrase “peat smoke” to differentiate between “wood smoke”. No apparent cask influence here which befits the young age. I prefer drinking neat but - for the sake of a thorough experience - adding a few drops of water revealed nothing new.

Summary:

As a resident of Oregon USA I’m pleased to have tried this locally distilled spirt featuring 100% Scottish imported barley. This McCarthy’s dram is neither overly remarkable nor regrettable at all. Although I find it impressive for having been aged a mere three years, I do also find it quite one-dimensional. That said, there’s surely something to be said for whiskeys that paint in one shade but paint it well like maybe a honeyed Dalwhinnie you could depend on when the honey crave hits you. Taking that philosophy further, too many layers can be actually distracting or suggesting a lack in focus. If you happen to enjoy McCarthy’s musty, rounded peat smoke dimension - which I do - then you should enjoy this spirit. The price seems high based on its age alone or USA birthplace, but considering all the other factors - imported barley, no chill filtration, lovely oilyness, respectable physical presentation, etc - no major complaints really.

23rd October 2017

Mix all whisky from Islay - and get McCarthy´s

I was really surprised, but this is a fantastic one. It´s a kind of mix between Caol Ila and Bunnahabain with a few drops of Ardbeg in it. Very well done!

25th February 2016

American Single Malt Whiskey

How many whisky drinkers in the UK think that the term "American whiskey" is synonymous with bourbon, or at a stretch, bourbon and rye? So many that it might be nearly universal. There are probably about one hundred distilleries in the US making malt whiskey today, and Clear Creek Distillery's McCarthy's Oregon Single Malt Whiskey was, to my knowledge, the very first American malt whiskey to hit the market, back in the 1990's. It is distilled from 100% malted barley imported from Port Ellen Maltings on Islay, but unlike an Islay Scotch it spends one year aging in a new charred oak cask as well as spending time in a used cask or casks. If peaty scotches appeal to you, I recommend giving McCarthy's a try. I also recommend it to people who are simply curious about what an American single malt whiskey tastes like.

1st November 2015

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