Ben left a message this evening, saying that he was in Spec's, standing in front of McClelland's Single Malt Islay Scotch, and wondering whether he should buy it. It's too late to do Ben any good tonight, and I suspect that he's more proficient with Google and consequently knows everything that I am about to write about this whisky and more. But I need material, and he fortuitously presented me with this topic.
McClelland's is an old Glaswegian Scotch blender bought by Morrison-Bowmore in 1970. There is not now nor has ever been a McClelland's distillery, which means that the single malts bearing the McClelland's name are all rebadged whisky. I know that this will come as a shock to everybody, but Morrison-Bowmore also owns the Bowmore Distillery on Islay. Bowmore is their only Islay property, so it's highly likely that the Scotch in this bottle was distilled at Bowmore. The Wikipedia article about McClelland's claims that the Islay is 5 year old Bowmore, but it does not give a source for that claim. Despite this lack of support, I can believe it. Bowmore Legend is six years old and costs around $22 a fifth. McClelland's Islay costs around $20 a bottle, so logic would dictate that it's slightly younger than Legend. Given its provenance and its cost, I think it likely that Ben would be reasonably happy with its quality/price ratio (which, for him, is equivalent to the peatiness/price ratio).