Sep 20

McClelland’s Highland Scotch – Review

McClelland's Highland ScotchMcClelland’s Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky

80 Proof

Price Point: $20 – $30 for 750 ML

Distiller: T&A McClelland Limited

 

Background

Bottom shelf isn’t always bad.  Certain whiskeys prove that statement – many refute it.  Here in the good old U. S. of A., most of our bottom shelf whiskey is bourbon and other American varieties.  Bottom shelf Scotch is rare, and typically finding a single malt for under $30 proves difficult.  I have this strange fantasy that things are the exact opposite in Scotland – loads of poorly designed labels on cheap single malts, with only the best of the best when it comes to American whiskey.

McClelland’s is a brand that offers Highland, Lowland, Speyside, and Islay expressions, and are typically readily available.  I’ve avoided them for several reasons – you tend to get what you pay for (rules are made to be broken), 80 proofers don’t usually do it for me, and I’ve never seen McClelland’s reviewed or even mentioned (are they worth mentioning?).  For $25, I thought “why not?” and picked up a bottle.

 

Review

The nose on McClelland’s Highland starts out malty, with notes of sourdough bread.  There are some pears and apricots, and absolutely no smoke present whatsoever.  A hint of rubbing alcohol shows up to add some bitterness.  This nose is relatively straightforward and simple.

Once in the mouth, McClelland’s Highland has a thin mouthfeel at 40% ABV.  Most of the interesting fruit aromas disappear on the tongue.  There’s a touch of malt but again, it’s toned down.  A little bit of mint shows up (basil leaves?).  Certainly not terrible, but nothing too special either.

There’s more malt on the aftertaste, but not much more in this somewhat brief and mediocre finish.

 

Rating & Recommendations

I got just about what I expected out of McClelland’s Highland, which is why it still earns a respectable 77 out of 100 rating.

This is a decent Scotch for the price point; it just doesn’t quite stack up with other single malts.  Sometimes you do get what you pay for.

 

-Ryan

13 comments

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    • David Horne on May 21, 2016 at 11:35 am
    • Reply

    I’ve been drinking single malts for a “few” years, I’m 68. I have progressed steadily through the full range: big, rich, fruity, complex, smokey, etc. I remember one Christmas my father-in-law and I sipped steadily on a bottle of 15 year old Laphroaig, she who must be obeyed was not pleased.. Now I drink a glass before dinner, that’s it. I enjoy light, not too fruity, a pleasant nose, no big finish, a few drops of water in it. I keep coming back to this bottle. It is light, not too fruity, definite balsam in the nose, a mild finish. Perfect for my one drink. If you want rich, big, complex, long finish, this aint it. But if you permit yourself one light drink an evening, this is an excellent value.

    • Phil on July 31, 2016 at 9:24 pm
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    I am confused. All single Malt 12 year is not the same? Really? There is a cheap version of that too? What gives>

    • Scotch and Irish whiskey lover on March 20, 2017 at 9:36 pm
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    This nonsense with you who are supposed connoisseurs of such scotches and Irish whiskeys give this insane rating accompanied by all this bs about the structure of complexity buried within the confines make me want to vomit. If it tastes good then drink it, the price matters not!

      • Ryan on March 21, 2017 at 9:37 am
        Author
      • Reply

      I find it more nonsensical that you came to a whiskey reviews blog, and were shocked to read an opinion.

      Cheers!

      -Ryan

      • Joseph Chambers on December 26, 2017 at 5:27 pm
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      Raising a glass to you my good man. Here! Here!

      • George C Compton on March 9, 2018 at 10:18 am
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      It’s like I once told a friend of mine who asked what a good bottle of wine would be. I told him it was whatever bottle he liked and if he were extremely lucky, that would turn out to be 2 buck chuck. Lol

    • Juris Zagarins on April 7, 2017 at 11:53 pm
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    I have consumed large quantities of McClelland’s Highland Single Malt Scotch Whiskey over many years. It works.

      • Dave on September 2, 2017 at 8:31 pm
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      Dude, you sound like a guy a could party with!

      • Joe on September 25, 2017 at 11:35 pm
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      I agree!

    • George on October 18, 2017 at 3:39 pm
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    This comes from Glen Garioch, correct? NAS, though.

    • Richard on October 23, 2017 at 7:14 pm
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    Solidly I have been a Laphroaig man for the last five years. But let me tell you what. McClellands is damned decent single malt whiskey. I like the highland or the Islay, with my nod towards the Islay bottle. I don’t worry about the complexities, but do add a few drops of water to each crystal snifter. I learned to drink my Scotch this way from my internet acquaintances. Daddy was a moonshine man, God rest his soul. My tastes have evolved to the finer side of whiskey. All my ramblings aside, McClellands is my go to whiskey.

    I should not drink Scotch and post reviews, but rest assured. McClellands will do the job.

    • Henry on October 28, 2017 at 7:01 pm
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    Prior to trip Edinburgh Scotland I drank single malts, not Mccallum becauss I like a peaty taste. Laphroig is on side of too Peaty,

    Since taking a whisky tour and learning and tasting some fine blends I have broadened my taste buds.

    I think this McClellands is a fine whisky. Better than or just as good as many great blends. Scotch is whisky not whiskey and has great variety. So much variety so little time!

    • Britt L. Meininger on December 6, 2017 at 8:16 pm
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    I bought a handle for $35 which is but hard to be reckoned with. I have, say, a cup between various hot iterations with dry mint or cranberry during the fall which has resumed a single parenthood. It is sweet at the nose, with a strong wind of very real Scottish grain. Not something to take a million years with but to satisfy a very real taste of Scotch.

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