McClelland’s Lowland Single Malt Review

McClellands Lowland Single Malt Review 3

What the hell Morrison Bowmore? This is one of the worst single malt scotches I have had and that surprises me because we know you have access to talented people and quality ingredients. The Bowmore Devil’s Casks is one of the most delicious whiskies I have had which makes this an even bigger disappointment. Maybe that’s why it’s listed as T & A McClelland Limited with no mention of Morrison Bowmore on the bottle. They’re embarrassed to be associated with something that tastes like this.

As it is there is no McClelland’s distillery and they are just a private bottler who gets single malts from Highland, Lowland, Speyside and Islay distilleries and then bottles them under their own label. The 1818 on the bottle refers to when T&A McClelland (a blending and export company) was founded. They were bought in the 70’s by Morrison Bowmore (who is owned by Suntory) and at least from what I’ve tasted here it seems like this is where they dump their lower quality single malts… at least the Lowland ones.

Overall I very strongly dislike this whisky. I can’t say I hate this whisky because that emotion is reserved for the abomination that is Bastille, but this is definitely on the lowest rungs of single malt ladder I’ve ever had. It’s not just that it tastes and smells like B.O. but that it also really lacks structure and any kind of identity beyond “stinky”. It’s wishy washy, watery and just overall not fun to drink.

If you’ve tried the McClelland’s Lowland Single Malt please let me know with your thoughts and tasting notes in the comments below

McClelland’s Lowland Single Malt Review

ABV: 40%
Price: $26
Distiller: Morrison Bowmore

EYE
Watery honey

NOSE
Body odor*. I’m not joking. Body odor is the first thing I smell drifting out of this bottle. Underneath the eau de hippie is a mild malt, light caramel, some imitation vanilla and stagnant tidal pools. There is a thread of rotting veg, like when a bag of salad is left in the back of your fridge, running through the whole thing.

TASTE
I can taste the body odor. It’s quite unpleasant. There is a bit of malt, honey, and a very ambiguous floral fruity flavor that is paired with sour milk. It’s just truly terrible stuff.

FEEL
Weirdly hot. So rough that all it does is enhance the unbalanced terrible nature of this whisky.

FINISH
It is a mercifully short finish filled with B.O. and a strangely out of place malt, honey and a hint of wood.

SCORE: 65/100

*Note: Everyone else I’ve had try this has said it was “stinky”. When I said I smelled body odor one guy looked up and said “Oh good. I wanted to say that, but was worried it was me”. When given to my wife she asked why my whisky smelled like a gym and handed it back without tasting.

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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13 Responses to McClelland’s Lowland Single Malt Review

  1. I remember it being totally bland but not offensive. I’ll never buy it again.

    Now their Speyside was offensive. Rotten flowers or a dead grandma or something.

  2. I’m a Bourbon drinker, but did some experimentation with various Scotches and Irish whiskies before deciding that Bourbon was my true love. I found some Scotch and Irish Whisky enjoyable, but happened on this bottle in my quest for cheaper single malt spirits. In my life I’ve poured two whiskies down the drain, literally. I *believe* the first was Regal Chivas 12. I hated it, although I realize some don’t. The other was this. I tried, I really did. It was F***ING terrible. As you said, it stank, and the taste was just as bad. I just couldn’t take it. It was by far THE WORST whiskey I’ve ever had the displeasure of consuming, and I didn’t want it in the presence of worthy spirits. Thanks for bringing up such terrible memories!

  3. I rather enjoy McClelland’s and I’m very well versed on Single Malt Scotch. I have been to Scotland on SEVERAL occasions to visit my and my wife’s family, and tried every Single Malt made in Scotland. McClelland’s ‘offensive’ odor comes from the oils in the whisky, and it does not transfer to the flavor. We as Americans are spoiled in the vast number of spirits that we have available, and many often turn their noses up at the first sign of an ‘offensive’ odor. Once you delve past, what you are calling “odor” you get a lot of what I liken to hot, fresh maple syrup and blackened marshmallow. I’d give it another try, or at the very least let it open up for a month or so before judging it again.

    • Hey sWal,

      I slowly made my way through this over the course of a year+ and it definitely didn’t get any better. That “body odor” essence never left. It was super funky the whole way out, but to each their own; I’m glad you enjoy it. Cheers!

  4. I rather like the Lowland, the Highland is somewhat less complex. The Speyside is rather nasty, like smoky Chloraseptic. These whiskies in no way deserve the trashing I’ve read here. What single malt do they recommend?

    • In my opinion they do deserve the poor rating. To answer your question though, I’d recommend Lismore, Speyburn, Finalggan or any of the lower end Alexander Murray releases over anything in the McClelland’s line up. All those options are cheaper and better tasting.

    • Oh yes, this sh&t is awful!!! The 65 is generous. Absolutely toxic dregs from a fertilizer vat. Buy anything but this! For a little more you can get Glenmorangie Original or Ardmore, both of which are much much better.

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