McCarthy’s Oregon Single Malt Review

McCarthys Oregon Single Malt Review

The McCarthy’s Oregon Single Malt is another bottle of whiskey I picked up on my trip to Portland, and man am I glad I did. It’s smoky, it’s sweet, it’s savory, it’s robust it’s… it’s just plain delicious is what it is.

It’s made in the Islay style and if you’re looking for something to compare it to think along the lines of Lagavulin 16. There is such a similar color and character to this whiskey that you could almost be fooled into thinking that you’re actually drinking a young Lag.

Overall this is just plain fantastic. It’s one of my new favorite daily drinkers and shows a maturity and balance much older than it’s mere 3 years of aging would typically produce. It’ has a symphony of savory flavors with a sweet underpinnings and an oily smooth texture that makes this something that is literally a joy to drink.

If you’ve tried the McCarthy’s Oregon Single Malt I’d love to see your own thoughts or notes in the comments below.

McCarthy’s Oregon Single Malt Review

ABV: 42.5%
Price: $54
Distiller: Clear Creek Distilling / Widmer Brothers
Batch: W13-02
Bottled: 9-16-13

EYE
Golden caramel with hints of orange. Even the color reminds me of a lighter Lagavulin 16.

NOSE
The smoke is very apparent with rich salted butter, vanilla and smoked ham rising up first. Malt, salted caramel and a nice roasty sensation round out the nose.

TASTE
Delightfully smoky. It’s not a peat monster but has more than enough peated character to stand next to the big boys from Islay. Iodine, caramel apple, butterscotch and malt with hints of wood and popcorn make this a very enjoyable dram.

FEEL
Oily and coating it’s smooth and easy to drink with very little burn.

FINISH
Smoked meat fades to a smoky malt and campfire ash that lingers for a nice long finish.

SCORE: 91/100

Josh Peters
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Josh Peters

I read about, think about, write about, and drink whisk(e)y. In short, it's my passion.
Josh Peters
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16 Responses to McCarthy’s Oregon Single Malt Review

  1. This is my favorite Oregon whiskey, from a growing stable of them. I agree that it’s much more mature than you would expect for 3 years. There’s quite a bit of variation between batches, but I’ve got the same bottle as you on my bar right now.

  2. Received a bottle for Christmas, bottled Sept 2014.
    Has a very strong chemical smell and taste
    Leaves a strong after taste same chemical
    Like Creosote. What do you recommend?

    • Mine’s an older bottling, I haven’t tried it since it was bought out, but sounds a bit rough. When you ask “what do you recommend” do you mean you like the taste and you want something similar (Laphroaig has a strong medicinal taste)? Or do you mean you don’t like it and you’re wondering what to do with the bottle? If that’s the case I’d say leave it, come back to in a month or two and see if its’ opened up. If not make cocktails with it. Smokey Rob Robys and Churchill’s are great.

  3. Josh –

    Been spending the last few years drinking through the world of bourbons and just now starting to make my way through whiskeys. You have become my go-to whiskey resource and really appreciate your posts.

    Anyways, McCarthy’s showed up at my local bottle shop here in Atlanta this week and I grabbed a bottle based on your recommendation. Really enjoyed! Tastes much older than 3 years, and think the price is totally justifiable even though it is relatively young. Really is a pretty decent sub for an older Islay bottle. Thanks for the recommendation!

  4. I tried this whisky a couple years ago and absolutely loved it! I had never heard of it and was surprised by the recommendation from my sever (at Fx McRory’s in Seettle) when he recommended a smoky whisky from Oregon after I told him I love peated Islay scotches. I went for it and fell in love with it! I was also really pleased that such an excellent and tasty, smoky whisky was only $10 for a dram.

    However, I couldn’t remember the name so I just searched for “smoky Oregon whiskies” and found this article! I recently got back from a trip to Islay (visited Lagavulin, among other distilleries) and am looking forward to another dram of McCarthy’s on Monday!

  5. Wow. Thanks Josh. I live in Portland, OR and I see this on the shelves all the time and never got further than glancing at the label. I have a terrible habit of disregarding local stuff…stupid. That said, HRD is most known for their bottom shelf vodka, so I have a tiny leg to stand on there. Side note, their vodka was the #1 sold booze in Oregon in 2016 by about 100,000 liters. I will definitely check this whiskey out.

  6. […] fshnazn is online now   Quote Quick Reply post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old Today, 04:15 PM moethedog Registered User   Join Date: Dec 2007 Location: North Umpqua and Oregon Coast Posts: 2,020 Made in Oregon So it can't call itself a Scotch. Instead it is McCarthy's Oregon Single Malt: Distilled from a Fermented Mash of Peat-Malted Scottish Barley. In the Islay style. $54 a bottle, made in Oregon by Clear Creek Distilling/with some help from Widmer Brothers (go figure). Here's a review giving it 91/100. I had my local OLCC store locate a bottle in their computer system. May have to run south to get one and sample. McCarthy's Oregon Single Malt Review – The Whiskey Jug […]

  7. I had a bottle of McCarthy’s maybe 5 years ago purely on the strength of a JM review and must say I loved it. Totally agree that it tastes way older than 3 years old. Funnily enough it reminded me more of the Port Ellens I used to seek out in the nineties and noughties than the old (or young) Lag. Unfortunately it’s a bit pricey here in Tokyo at around $80, when you can find it, which is not often, but I feel another purchase coming on after reading your review. Me and the whisky club do enjoy broadening our horizons, and a Left Coast American Peated whiskey is right up there with Amrut Fusion and the Kavalans for extra brownie [exotica] points.

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