By Richard Thomas
Shortly after moving to Portugal, I threw my first murder party and invited a mix of my wife’s English-speaking friends and some of the teachers from the English school I was working for at the time. The boyfriend of one of my fellow teachers brought me a present, a bottle of Highland Clan scotch. I’m sure he meant well, but he inadvertently exposed me to one of the whiskeys I readily put on my Top 5 Worst Whiskeys of All Time list. So, I write this review as a warning to anyone living or traveling in Europe: if you see this scotch on the shelf, do not allow yourself to be beguiled by the tartan label or the low price. Do yourself a favor, spend the extra couple of pounds or euros and get something else, anything else.
While doing research for this review, I discovered that Highland Clan used to be sold in clear glass bottles. I imagine the company switched to the current green glass bottle to disguise the color of the scotch, which vaguely resembles watery urine.
Highland Clan is the bottom-barrel product of the Chivas company. It is a blended scotch with something like the mix of sweetness and peat smoke one expects from scotch, but the flavor tastes artificial. It isn’t quite as bad as, say, Thai whiskey. That really is artificial. I could just never shake the feeling when sipping on the stuff that the scotch was adulterated with some other spirit, and the taste restored back to its scotch-like center with artificial flavorings. That is just my opinion of what it tastes like, mind you, and not a report on how Highland Clan scotch is actually made.
Thankfully for our American readers, Highland Clan scotch is not available in the United States. However, in Europe it can be found on supermarket shelves for as little as six or seven Euros. However, that is not worth it. For an extra euro or two, anyone can easily buy a bottle of Grant’s, J&B or Cutty Sark. Any of those is dramatically better than this rotgut.