Continued from pt 1.
The plan for day 3 was to get up late and take a short run up to Portland, where we would hit Westmoreland Liquor, House Spirits Distillery and Clear Creek Distillery, before bunking down. This would have left a pretty long ride on the final day, so we gave House Spirits a skip, in favour of putting a few more miles on that day. We did stop at Westmoreland, which had an incredible selection of spirits, including the super rare Port Charlotte 8, which was what put this establishment on our radar to begin with (thanks Oregon Liquor Search engine). I regret not snapping a few shots of their whiskey wall (one here on Yelp). It was truly a thing of beauty.
With a couple of bottles of PC 8, and a PC An Turas Mor packed into our saddle bags, we jumped from one side of Portland to the other on the way to Clear Creek. This of course is the home of McCarthy’s Single Malt, which has been garnering a bit of a cult following of late.
Clear Creek was a great stop. As we pulled in, the distillery doors were open, and we were able to snap some shots of the stills. Of course, these paled in comparison to the photo they had on display in the reception area, of the staff manning the stills under full steam.
We had the opportunity to taste anything from their line, but it was the McCarthy’s that we were there for, and that is what we stuck to. It was sublime. The host informed us that the barley was sourced from the same distributor that supplies Lagavulin and Laphroaig, and comes to Clear Creek, pre-peated.
A peated American single malt whiskey. Unique, and wonderful. Obviously peaty and smoky. Young with a floral nose. Hints of heather and cut grass, and wisp of sweetness. An very long finish that certainly left us with the desire to acquire a bottle each. Unfortunately, there was none to be had.
With a McCarthy’s warming our bellies, we hit the road again. Within minutes we had crossed into Washington, and a few hours after that we found ourselves in the state capital, Olympia. We toured the town a little in search of a hotel and eventually found a suitable one. Pizza and wine at a lively Italian restaurant followed, and we were done for the night. It was fortunate that the beds had an ample supply of pillows, as I had told Greg to toss a pillow at me if I was snoring. The barrage lasted most of the night.
By 6 am Greg had an urge to make for an earlier ferry, so that he could spend some time with his family before leaving town on business, yet again. I was intent on visiting the final distillery on the trip, Bainbridge Organic Distillers. So we bid each other farewell, and Greg departed for Port Angeles. I dozed for another hour, and started a leisurely ride up to Bainbridge Island.
Now, I have been on the emailing list for this distiller for some time as I was keen to try to get one of their bottles of Battle Point Whiskey, which had been getting some pretty good reviews. I had received regular emails telling me about their upcoming release dates, but for some reason, I had no idea, that his was a whiskey release day. Oh Fortuna. It was like a choir of angels began singing when the girl serving me a dram of this elixir asked if I wanted to buy a bottle. I was already over for my duty free, and picking this bottle as well, would have had me run the risk of getting dinged for about a $170 in duty. I had to risk it, so I bought a bottle. How could I not?
It was a really nice set up in a large commercial/light industrial complex, with a brew pub in the complex next door. The warm and inviting store front opening up on to the distillery floor so you could watch the geniuses at work. This entire operation was started by Keith on the small still, on display in the store front. He’s moved up since then.
As I left the Bainbridge for Port Angeles, I felt completely at peace with myself. The sun had come out, the cares of the world had left me, and I had crossed another bottle off of my, Must Find list.
I grabbed a bite at a greasy spoon before jumping the ferry. Now the dread of being way over my duty free limit started to sink in. Oh well, pay the piper if you must. Turns out, I was completely honest about what I was bringing home, and the piper let me through.
Thanks nice Canada Customs lady. I owe you one. I rode home from the ferry terminal with a big smile on my face, wishing I had picked up still more bottles.
A great trip with a great friend, chalked up as another Super Whiskey Adventure.