When I first entered the world of Scotches, I was intrigued by the difference between blended and single malts. Most all of the affordable Scotches (as a then-college student, ~$20) were blended. I always liked the idea of a single malt, but I couldn’t afford to shell out $50-100 for a higher quality bottle.
Then I stumbled on McClelland’s. The company offers a line of four single malts from the various Scotch regions, each at around $20-22. Tasty, affordable, and single malt.
The bottle I most recently picked up bears the stamp of the Lowland region. McClelland’s also offers a Highland, Islay, and Speyside version of their Scotch.
According to the bottle’s label…
The lowlands of Scotland have their own, distinctive character. This gentle landscape has rolling hills and deep, verdant valleys. The easy warmth of the summers and the cool, soft rains enrich this land, making it fertile and green. It is exactly this character which is expressed in the gentle, full fruity flavour of this whisky. A fine example of an unpeated malt, it has a smooth, mellow finish with a butterscotch texture.
Geographic platitudes aside, the description of the actual Scotch is somewhat accurate. It has a medium body and a good mouth feel – “butterscotch texture” sums it up. Not too thin or watery, just slightly viscous. It also sports a medium amber color. Quite attractive.
It has a pleasing aroma, fairly mild. While it does have a gentle flavor, I’m not sure it’s “fruity.” Slightly sweet to be sure, but not sickeningly so like Southern Comfort or some other Bourbon.
It has a nice finish with a pleasant after-taste. Some of that “butterscotch texture” lingers.
I wouldn’t peg it as the best Scotch in the world, but I love it. In terms of overall quality, I’d give it a 3.5 / 5. Above average, and something I’d willingly drink on a consistent basis.
While I’d gladly turn this up in favor of a glass of Johnny Blue, I’m much more inclined to spend the $20 or so on a bottle of McClelland’s than I am to spend almost $200 on a bottle of Johnny Walker. It is a great value, and I like it (and the entire McClelland’s line) better than similarly priced Scotches – i.e. J.B., Chivas Regal, or Dewer’s.
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