MacArthur's Select Review

“Good Fighters, Mediocre Blenders”

Country: Scotland
Brand: MacArthur's Select
Type: Blended Scotch Whisky
Bottled By: J. MacArthur & Co. (Interbev Group)
Age: NAS 
Chill-Filtration: Most likely
ABV: 40%
Whisky Review # 558

Colour: Golden (Artificial Colouring might have been applied) 

Nose: Grain Alcohol and Refill (Ex-Bourbon) casks are all over the place. The MacArthur's Blend has a young and light Nose with some Cereals, a little Malt, Toast and Margarine, Nutshells, Straw, Vanilla, Sugar, light Honey, Pear, a bit of Pepper and some Citrus notes (Mandarin). It's all quite simple but I also don't detect annoying off-notes.  

Taste: A little Sharp and Sugary Sweet with Cereals, Nut Shells, light Grass and Honey, a little Barley, Citrus (Mandarin and Lemon), Caramel, light Toffee, light Orchard Fruit and Pepper.        

Finish: Short, a little Sharp and Sugary-Sweet with quite some Bitter Refill Oak popping up in the end. I find Sugar, Caramel, light Toffee, light Vanilla, Lemon, Mandarin, Pepper, Nutmeg and traces of Cigarette Ashes.  

Added Water does diminish the Grainy Fire somewhat and enhances the Barley. It also becomes very thin though.   

Rating: 72  

Nose: 18.5 - Taste: 18 - Finish: 17.5  - Overall: 18

General Remarks: This blend of Grain - and Malt whiskies was first released in 1877. It is named after the MacArthur clan of Argyllshire in Scotland that fought alongside Robert the Bruce in the war for Scottish independence. It probably contains malt from distilleries like Balblair, Old Pulteney, An Cnoc (Knockdhu) and Speyburn as these also belong to the Interbev Group. Mac Arthur's Select is quite cheap at around US$ 20. I have seen even lower prices on the Internet (September 2016).

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Below Average 

Conclusion: I certainly do not consider myself a Whisky snob and I quite enjoy my JW Black on the rocks on a regular basis. But it's cheap Blends like the one I am tasting today that make me desperate sometimes. Because while I can't find any real Off-Notes, I also can't find any reason why I should consider drinking this neat. And with added Water and/or Ice it becomes quite Thin. So the only reason to really consider MacArthur's is the price. Low prices however can't produce whiskies with great Aromas and Flavour. I keep repeating myself when I say that Bourbon producers do a much better job in this respect. To sum it up, the MacArthur's Select is drinkable but it doesn't offer any pleasure. Therefore, I can't recommend it.

Jan van den Ende                                                             September 14, 2016

Knockdhu (Picture Credit: Scotchwhiskynet)

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