McCarthy’s Oregon Single Malt, famously the first American single malt ever produced, was bottled at just three-years-old for decades. Recently, however, the distillery appears to have started leaning hard into older stocks, releasing a six-year-old expression last year and then following that up this year with two higher proof, limited edition finished expressions, a first for the distillery. We received samples of each for review. Thoughts follow.
McCarthy’s Oregon Single Malt PX Sherry Cask Finished – First out of the gate for the new line extension, this is McCarthy’s six-year-old single malt finished in Pedro Ximenez sherry casks from the Toneleria Del Sur cooperage in southern Spain and bottled at cask strength. The aroma is a lovely mix of coal briquets, old leather, and dark berry jam. As it opens, tobacco and licorice notes supplant the fruit, alongside an ashy smoke. The palate is bold and rich, delivering in a big way on the dark fruits that had dissipated on the nose. Currants, cranberry sauce, and blueberry cobbler offer a jammy sweetness that recedes on the midpalate to woodsmoke and chicory before a sweet reprise on the generous finish with notes of dark jams, gianduja, and barrel char. Exceptional. 112.5 proof. A / $150
McCarthy’s Oregon Single Malt Oloroso Cask Finished – Designed by McCarthy’s newest distiller Garrett Trotter to be a “sunny and welcoming dram,” this is the same McCarthy’s six-year-old single malt finished in oloroso casks. It’s pleasantly dry on the nose with soft campfire smoke and coal ash underpinned with lightly sweet notes of apple butter, fresh fig, and honey candies. The palate is unusually soft-bodied and clean compared to McCarthy’s traditional brooding, peated style with minimal smoke but a bit more salinity and coastal brine. The peat certainly doesn’t dominate in the same way as the unfinished expressions with bright notes of banana chips, apple cider, and candied ginger that thin out a bit across the midpalate before a lingering finish of lemon oil, milk chocolate, and heavily peppered bacon. 112 proof. A- / $120