Wednesday, 13 February 2013


unexpected location

Technically the first of my mini-tasting series, but because it had six variations of the Glenfarclas range in the series, I finished it over a longer period of time then I first intended. On our travels in 2012 we have visited the distillery, but did not take enough time to take a tour, because we were a bit too early for the first tour (we had to wait an hour and a half or so) and another distillery was waiting our arrival on a set time later that day. The distillery is located on a beautiful, chique, golf-course-esque site, with one of the old stills outside in front of the main building, aside a path towards the warehouses.
In spite of our early arrival just before the opening of the store, we were welcomed with open arms and we took the samples I have tried below with us. Worth a proper visit when we are there next time.

Glenfarclas - 10 
40% abv, non chill-filtered, natural color
On the nose I found Christmas pudding sweetness, fresh home made applesauce, cinnamon, herbal notes and gingerbread. The taste has lots of sweetness and softness, caramelised apples and again, herbal notes. It finishes with a firm bite of white pepper, with a hint of raisins and a tiny bitter conclusion.
Very nice when you are in the mood for a soft, sweet whisky with clear sherry influences.

Glenfarclas - 12
43% abv, non chill-filtered, natural color
The nose is rather sharp, yet honey-sweet with notes of apple-juice and marmalade. Taste-wise it starts a little bitter, but that resolves into a firm, spicy honey with apricot and the dry feel that banana gives on your tongue. She has a firm, spicy finish, lasting medium long, again with the honey sweetness and marmalade.
Lovely, if you like the slightly bitter taste of marmalade.

Glenfarclas - 15
46% abv, non chill-filtered, natural color
Vanilla and wood tones are first to meet you on the nose, making room for fresh spices sweet toffee and raisins. At first there is a soft vanilla-buttery taste that after a few seconds gets peppery-spicy, citrusy fresh and buttery soft. From the firm peppery taste, the finish starts strong, but converts into a (very) long, citrusy sweet toffee end.
More complex than the younger two versions.

Glenfarclas - 21
43% abv, non chill-filtered, natural color
At first the nose gives you a heavy, medicinal scent, with whiffs of sour herring (a Dutch treat). After a period of rest and a few drops (small splash) of water, it gets a lot gentler, with vanilla, macadamia (?) nuts, citrus, apple-juice and wood. On the palate there are clear notes of sherry, vanilla, fruits, honey and flowers. It has  a firm, log, warm and vanilla sweet finish. 
Lovely, but I am not sure this was worth the 21 years wait. Let it gather itself for a couple of minutes after pouring.

Glenfarclas - 25
43% abv, non chill-filtered, natural color
Starts with a heavy sweet scent of ripe red apples, that waits for a little while to turn into a more gentle scent giving vanilla, some briny notes, citrus, apple juice, wood and a whiff of wherry. A dry red wine on the palette, honey, heather and after a longer period in the mouth it turn quite spicy with some chocolate. Everything ends with a peppery, yet marshmallows-sweet, long and dry finish.
For a 25 year old whisky, quite an affordable dram. Not very complex, but very enjoyable.

Glenfarclas - 105
60% abv, non chill-filtered, natural color
A fruity nose, with hints of smoke and salt with a sharp but sweet taste and a long, fresh, sweet finish. I would recommend a splash of water to tame down the alcohol fumes and sharpness.
The name "105" is obviously not the age, but derives from the old UK measurement system for spirits, that used to be about 1,75 times the abv (60%). Do the math.
Great stuff.

The range of the Glenfarclas whiskies is quite extensive, up to a 40YO version of the standard bottling and a series of special selected single cask bottlings. There is yet enough to taste of this great brand. When you are a sherry lover, Glenfarclas is worth a try. Better yet, it is worth having as a standard in your cabinet. There are choices enough to make and I have to find the first I don't really like.

According to Glenfarclas' own website, the whiskies are constructed from one-third standard casks and two-thirds sherry casks, depending on the availability and age of the intended final product. With standard casks they mean ex-bourbon or refill-whisky casks and for sherry maturation they use either ex-oloroso or ex-fino sherry butts.

glenfarclas website

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