Wednesday, 19 June 2013

McClelland's Single Malt Whisky


The McClelland’s single malt whisky range offers expressions from the main whisky regions of Scotland: Speyside, Islay, the Lowlands and the Highlands.  They have very attractive price tags for single malts, selling at Dan Murphy’s for $47.90 (very cheap for the Australian market). So, do I think you get what you pay for or are there any hidden gems in this range? Let’s find out!

Name:
Rating:
McClelland’s Highland Single Malt
★★★☆
Score:
72/100
ABV:
40%
Region:
Highland, Scotland  
Body:
Light
Intensity:
Light, lifeless
Texture:
Watery
Balance:
OK
Best served:
Neat, mixed
Theme(s):
The burn of the underlying alcohol is too much for this sweet little whisky

Tasting notes:
Nose: Unfortunately, the first whiff of this whisky was unpleasant. It releases a mild stench of immaturity hidden away in a sweet cloak of honeyed fruit. There is not much leaping out of the glass, and instead the sweetness remains stagnant while the undertones of soot and exhaust fumes spoil the show in my opinion.

Taste: Not bad but far from good, this whisky is uninteresting on the palate and offers a dull almost lifeless wave of candied dried apricot with the interruption of ethanol and doughy new spirit. Harsh and with a slight burn, I am not tempted for another dram.

Finish: The bitterness lingers, as a dry wood lingers with the burning alcoholic embers.

Spirit Type:
Rating:
McClelland’s Speyside Single Malt
★★★☆
Score:
70/100
ABV:
40%
Region:
Speyside, Scotland
Body:
Light
Intensity:
Light, lifeless
Texture:
Watery
Balance:
OK
Best served:
Neat, mixed
Theme(s):
A boring young Speysider much to flat for his/her age

Tasting notes:
Nose: The immaturity is less pronounced than in the Highland, but it whispers softly in the gusts of floral notes and freshly slices orchard fruits; apple, pear and peach. Some mild vanilla  and red jelly bean shines with crushed walnut and stale wholemeal bread within the fumes of nail polish remover.

Taste: While I prefer the nose on the Speyside, I prefer the taste of the Highland. The Speyside is almost more lifeless and unenergetic as the Highland, and offers very little spark or energy. Instead it releases a wave of tart berries drenched with alcohol, but as the bitterness recedes a dry wood develops into a dry smoky finish that draws in a sweet fruitiness that shines for a moment but then vanishes!

Finish: Better than the Highland, a dry smokiness remains on the tongue as ethanol evaporates off the base of the tongue.


Spirit Type:
Rating:
McClelland’s Lowland Single Malt
★★★ 
Score:
68/100
ABV:
40%
Region:
Lowlands, Scotland
Body:
Light
Intensity:
Light, lifeless
Texture:
Medium
Balance:
OK
Best served:
Mixed
Theme(s):
The most boring sibling of the family, get ready for some dozing!

Tasting notes:
Nose: While the Highland and the Speyside has shimmers of sweetness, the Lowland is overrun by the smell of fumes: petrol, nail polish remover and an under-cooked whole-meal loaf. Some mild fruity sugars develop but it is hard to identify anything distinct coming out of this whisky.

Taste: Far too diluted, this whisky has some buzz that quickly dies. It offers some mild notes of sour green grape with some alcoholic dryness.

Finish: The finish is surprising, because it lasts a while.


Name:
Rating:
McClelland’s Islay Single Malt
★★★★☆
Score:
82/100
ABV:
40%
Region:
Islay, Scotland
Body:
Medium
Intensity:
Medium
Texture:
Light-medium
Balance:
Good
Best served:
Neat
Theme(s):
A lake faring Islay lad with some moderate peat and a fizzling finish

Tasting notes:
Nose: There is sometimes something quite spectacular about young whisky, and I find this is sometimes the case with young Islay expressions. It is, I think, the way the peat interacts with (or cloaks) the immaturity. This smells like young whisky, but without the unpleasant new spirit notes that dominate the Lowland and Highland McClelland’s expressions. The peat is soft but radiates with the aroma of cut grass and a football field on a hot summer day; the clumps of clay merge with the yellow grass and energy in the atmosphere. There are some sweet notes too, with a cough syrup like aroma with notes of peppermint and a mild fizz.  

Taste: In my view, this is the best McClelland’s of the range. It offers a moderate glow of peat that is washed away by a wave of syrupy sweetness leaving only the peat embers burning gently as the sweetness evaporates with notes of vegetal laden lake water (far too mild for sea water). The sweetness is difficulty to describe, but sugary.

Finish: The finish on this whisky offers some peat infused sweetness, but then fizzles without warning.

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