McCarthy’s Oregon Single Malt Whiskey is of the Islay tradition of Scotch whisky. Of well-known single malts from Scotland, it resembles the Lagavulin whisky. It is very peat-y. Made from peat-malted barley brought in from Scotland, our whiskey would be a single malt Scotch if Oregon were Scotland. Widmer Brothers ferments the peat-malted barley into a "wash” or unhopped beer. Using the unfinished wash allows us to get all the flavor and character of the malt when we distill. We distill in our Holstein pot stills using one pass distillation, but make a small "heads” cut and a fairly large "tails” cut and put about 4 liters of tails into the next still run. The proof at time of distillation is about 150 (75%). Then we reduce in proof and barrel-age 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 but we 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.
|Clear Creek Distillery’s origins
Steve McCarthy started Clear Creek Distillery in 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 we grow in the Pacific Northwest he could make brandy just as good as that he had tried in Europe; that is the origin of Clear Creek Distillery. The name Clear Creek comes from the creek that runs through the pear orchard in Parkdale, Oregon.
What we do
A genuine artisan distillery reflects the best of the natural and agricultural resources of its region. Clear Creek Distillery has succeeded in doing this, making world-class eau de vie and grappa since 1985. At Clear Creek we have married European traditional brandy-making techniques with the finest fruit from Oregon orchards to produce fruit eaux de vie, grappas, and wine brandy. We use the traditional European pot still along with techniques learned in Alsace and Switzerland. No colors or flavors are ever added to our brandies. The distinctive “nose”, or initial smell of the brandy in a snifter, is the result of careful fermentation and distillation of perfectly ripe fruit. You will taste only the clear and fiery essence of the pacific Northwests finest fruits.
We also make an Oregon version of an Islay Scotch, McCarthy’s Oregon Single Malt Whiskey distilled from a fermented mash of peat-malted Scottish barley.
We continue the tradition of using the best Northwest fruit and berries in our seven recently developed liqueurs. We start with brandy that we distill, macerate lots of fruit in it, and lightly sweeten.
Steve McCarthy, founder
Founder Steve McCarthy and his brandies are internationally and nationally known and respected, served in the world’s best restaurants and appreciated by connoisseurs everywhere. “In Oregon, Steve McCarthy’s Clear Creek Distillery is producing what many experts feel to be the best fruit brandies…ever made in the U.S.” (The New York Times Magazine, Dec 8, 1991). Steve McCarthy received Bon Appetit’s American Food & Entertaining Award “Wine and Spirit Professional of the Year” (September 2001). His spirits continue to be called, “the most extraordinary eaux-de-vie in America, indeed, in the world.” (The Wine Bible, by Karen MacNeil, 2001) while he is said to “set new standards among the world’s smaller distilleries.” (Jim Murray’s Whiskey Bible, 2004).