Distiller: Clear Creek. ABV: 45.2%. Age: 3 years. Price: $45-60.
Clear Creek Distillery founder Steve McCarthy is a devotee of the Islay malts, in particular the Lagavulin 16, which also happens to be my favorite whisky. His love for Lagavulin shines through in this Fall 2014 release of McCarthy’s Oregon Single Malt Whiskey.
Everything about it is reminiscent of the Islays in all the best ways, from the lovely muted color, to the nose of honey, iodine, smoke, and citrus. But the palate is where this baby sings. An exceptional mix of the peaty brine, honey, and oak, along with a touch of citrus. I enjoyed the sustained finish, which for me, maintained the palate flavors almost to the end. A wonderful drink.
The many fans of this excellent American single malt were worried when Steve sold the distillery in late 2014–and if you do find a bottle of this Fall 2014 release still on the shelves, for God’s sake, pick it up. Steve is still a consultant at Clear Creek, though, and the distillery’s new owners had this to say:
Although Steve did sell the distillery to an Oregon company last year, our head distiller has been here over 10 years. There are 9 of us that work here (many for years and years) and our products, processes and sources are not changing.
Good to hear. The proof, as always, will be in the bottle, and we’ll be happy to bring you a review of the new release as soon as we can.
Cheers, friends! – TM