#296 • McClelland Highland Single Malt

40% alc./vol.
Glen Garioch Distillery, Oldmeldrum, Highlands, Scotland

I'm back today at the bottom of the pyramid with a small entry-level expression found in Maine, the McClelland's Highland Single Malt.

McClelland's is a company owned by Morrison Bowmore Distillers (who are now part of the group Beam Suntory) that bottles a variety of single malts to represent the major producing regions of Scotland. In my previous articles I touched on that of Speyside as well as the only one available in SAQ, that of theIslay.

If we play the detective, we can speculate on the provenance of these single malts. Assuming that McClelland's only bottles malts belonging to him, we can assume that today's expression is a young Glen Garioch.

During one of his visits to Quebec, I asked Iain McCallum, the ambassador of Morrison Bowmore, to enlighten me on the provenance of McClelland's expressions, but for reasons of confidentiality and marketing, he politely refuse.

As the comic book artist Robert Kahn, better known as Bob Kane, Creator Batman (1915-1998) said so well:

When a woman hires a private investigator to follow her husband, it is first to find out what other women can find for him.

Tint of neutral caramel.

Nose:
Vanilla and barley sugar hide hay and safe fruit. Lemon peel with a hint of varnish. A bit of walnut and scrotum sweat.

Taste:
A little watery with a weak vanilla and some citrus fruits. rotten apples with a little metallic aftertaste.

Finish:
Bitter, short and dry. Spicy and metallic. I would not want it longer than that.

Balance:
Not so horrible that anyone who tried it before me reported it. The basic spirit seems to have a small redeeming side, while it seems to me that it may be poor quality casks that have spoiled the sauce.

Note: ★ ★ ★ ★

#132 • McClelland Speyside Single Malt

40% alc./vol.
Unknown distillery, Speyside, Scotland

As I explained earlier this year in my article about his expression of IslayMcClelland's is not a distillery as such. The brand belongs to Morrison Bowmore Distillers and it's a brand more suited to modest budgets.

In Quebec, we usually only find Islay. In the United States, however, there are also Highland and Speyside versions of the range. My wife having taken the mission to bring me a Highland, which I will discuss soon, of her visit to Maine, I undertook to taste the Speyside that I found in California.

Even if, for obvious reasons, Iain McCallum, the ambassador of Morrison Bowmore, has kindly refused to confirm the provenance of McClelland's expressions for obvious reasons, it is relatively easy to guess or speculate himself.

Morrison Bowmore has three distilleries in Scotland: Bowmore on Islay, Auchentoshan in the Lowlands and Glen Garioch in the Highlands. This explains three of McClelland's expressions. What happens to Speyside? Morrison Bowmore does not have a distillery in Speyside. So where does this mysterious whiskey come from?

Several hypotheses on the menu. Morrison Bowmore belongs to the Japanese giant Suntory. The latter would maintain excellent business relations with Macallan. Would it be a Macallan 5 at 8 years, not quite ready, which Macallan would not venture to market prematurely?

Other rumors want Suntory to also get along recently with Whyte & Mackay. Their only Speyside distillery is Tamnavulin, but anyway McClelland's Speyside exists since 1999, before they are chummy chmmy. It seems unlikely to me. And now that they belong to Diageo, it could literally be anyone.

Someone on the net said it was Craigellachie, but he does not rely on anything else. My opinion? A Macallan not enough aged is a possibility. Why not ask Marc? We have nothing to lose.

As Sir Arthur Conan Doyle said so well:

When you have eliminated the impossible, what remains, however improbable, is necessarily the truth.

A dress that oscillates between yellow and light amber.

Nose:
Sweet and reserved. Vanilla, butter, lemon and dried fruit. Madeira touch. Not unpleasant but really nothing exciting.

Taste:
Lemon butter, vanilla and madeira with a note of ... white glue? Alcohol burns a little.

Finish:
Short and without interest. A little lemon that quickly gives way to any bitterness.

Balance:
The final comes to break this too young whiskey. Even if it is not expensive, choose something else, I beg you. I take back what I said above, Macallan would be unable to produce such a mess.

Note: ★ ★ ★ ★