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Whiskymag 137 July _Aug 2016

Clear Creek Distillery (OR)

McCarthy's Oregon Single Malt  Whiskey

Tasting Notes Review

Clear Creek Distillery's Origins

 

Steve McCarthy started Clear Creek Distillery about twenty-four years ago (1985) because he wanted to find the best use for the fruit from the McCarthy family's orchard.

 

During his travels in Europe he became acquainted with a number of traditional European spirits, among them an eau de vie made from Williams Pear.

 

Steve knew that with the wonderful fruit grown in the Pacific Northwest he could make brandy just as good as that he had tried in Europe.

 

The name Clear Creek comes from the creek that runs through the pear orchard in Parkdale, Oregon.

 

McCarthy's Oregon Single Malt Whiskey Review

 

McCarthy's Oregon Single Malt Whiskey is distilled in the “Islay style” of Scotch whisky. Of the  well-known single malts from Scotland, it closely resembles the Lagavulin single malt whisky.

 

It is very peat-y. Made from peat-malted barley brought in from Scotland,  if Oregon was located Scotland it would qualify to be called single malt Scotch whisky.

 

Widmer Brothers ferments the peat-malted barley into a "wash" or un-hopped beer. Using the unfinished wash allows them to obtain all the flavour and character of the malt during distillation.

 

The spirit is distilled in their Holstein pot stills using a one pass distillation, However they make a small "heads" cut and a fairly large "tails" cut and put about 4 litres of tails into the next still run.

 

The proof at time of distillation is about 150 (75%). Which is  reduced in proof before maturing the rough distillate in old sherry casks.

 

All the Oregon Single Malt now spends some time in barrels made from air-dried Oregon Oak.

 

The present bottling is only 3 years old however the distillers at Clear Creek think it is remarkably smooth for such a young whiskey.

 

The result is a smooth, peat-y whiskey with a surprisingly clean finish.

 

Production is very limited because what we put in the barrel doesn't come out for years.

 

 

McCarthy's Oregon Single Malt Whiskey received attention from its early days in the 1990's because American Single Malt Whiskey was a novelty.

 

In 2000, Gary Regan and Mardee Haidin Ragen noted in the Malt Advocate (March, 2000, p. 24) that in the world of American whiskey, "the times they are a-changing."

 

Their article described how single malts have started to gain in popularity over the past decade and "full flavoured American whiskey has made a comeback."

 

At that time (2000) three artesian distillers were making American Single Malts, but only McCarthy's had been released.

 

 

McCarthy's started to receive significant acclaim in 2004, when Jim Murray's Whiskey Bible gave McCarthy's its Best Small Batch Whiskey in the world award and a score of 94.

 

That same year Michael Jackson put McCarthy's in his list of The Ten Best American Whiskeys, published in both the Men's Journal (December 2004) and The Malt Advocate ( First Quarter 2005).

 

Consistently rave reviews have continued. In his 2006 edition of The Whiskey Bible, Jim Murray wrote, "McCarthy's has earned a place among the world's elite whiskeys." His 2008 edition of The Whiskey Bible gave McCarthy's a phenomenal score of 96.

 

Clear Creek Distillery

2389 NW Wilson Street

Portland,

OR 97210

 

Telephone

503-248-9470

 

Shop, Tasting Room

and Distillery Tour

Available

 

Please contact the

 

Distillery for latest details before Travelling

Produces :

McCarthy's Oregon Single Malt  Whiskey

 

Eaux de Vie

Pear

Apple

Kirschwasser

Blue Plum

Mirabelle Plum

Framboise

Douglas Fir

 

Fruit Liqueurs.

 

Grappas

 

Oregon Pot-Distilled Brandy