Among the very oldest of the crop of what we today consider American single malt whiskeys, the Oregon-based brand that is McCarthy’s is noted as has having first been started by one Steve McCarthy more than 25 years ago. McCarthy’s is today owned by Hood River Distillers and, for this whiskey’s latest brand extension, a new Pedro Ximenez (PX) sherry cask has been released.
The new McCarthy’s Oregon Single Malt Whiskey PX Sherry Cask Finished, according to those behind it, was aged for six years in Oregon Oak casks and finished in PX sherry casks. Specifically produced and seasoned according to the specifications of Hood River Distillers’ Master Distiller Joe O’Sullivan and Head Distiller Caitlin Bartlemay, the end result is described as “a rich, highly flavorful whiskey which pairs McCarthy’s iconic combination of peat smoke and Oregon white oak with the weighty sweetness of PX sherry.”
“For this unique release we’ve finished a blend of our double gold winning single malt in 2-year Pedro Ximenez sherry casks from the highly sought after Toneleria Del Sur cooperage in southern Spain,” said O’Sullivan in a prepared statement. “The four months spent in the PX barrels have produced a balanced and surprisingly deep flavored spirit made for late nights and good conversations; a whiskey, best enjoyed neat, which our distilling team consider among the best they’ve ever produced.”
McCarthy’s 6-year-old PX Sherry Cask Finished will be available in limited quantities through retailers in Oregon, New York, Colorado, Texas, Washington and California, as well as online. Official tasting notes for this 56.1% ABV, cask strength offering are below.
- Nose: Warm saddle leather and sweet tobacco on the introduction. Slowly reshaping into dark hazelnut butter and bergamot tea; the smell centering around the lingering smoke of cold camp fire embers.
- Palate: Surprisingly rich with a bright piquant start. The jammified fruit of the sherry is the opening act for a deeper spice filled middle as chicory and bitter chocolate find their home in the second act. These initial flavors enjoy a long stay, evaporating only for the smoke and sawdust that live in the heart of this well looked after whiskey.
McCarthy’s, for those that don’t know of it, is made from sourced two-row peat-malted barley from Scotland that’s processed into a beer wash by a local Oregon brewer. It is distilled in 60-gallon Holstein pot stills using single-pass distillation and non-chill filtration, typically being “aged in 36-month air dried Oregon Oak casks for a minimum of three years. McCarthy was the first U.S. distiller to use Oregon Oak in the early 1990s.”