Glenfarclas 15 Year Old Single Malt Review
So here we are at post 50 on CCWR....it's certainly taken me long enough but we have made it nonetheless. For such an auspicious milestone I really should have thought long and hard about a dram or taoscán suitable for really celebrating this epic achievement (tongue firmly in cheek!). I didn't and so I'm reviewing what I was drinking last night.....the Glenfarclas 15 year old.
Since being bought for the grand sum of £511,19s.0d (that's pounds, shillings and pence for the millenials) back in 1865, Glenfarclas has remained in the hands of the Grant family. Not that they have not had offers to sell the distillery but the family has declined any offers put forward to this date and hopefully it will stay that way. Not many distilleries still going can claim to be in family ownership after 6 generations.
Glenfarclas has always had a good reputation, none more so than with the blenders. Today about two thirds of their production goes into their single malts with the rest sold on for blending. They are also devoted to maturing their whiskies in sherry casks and source their casks from the José y Miguel Martin bodega in Huelva, Spain. This of course is a costly way of maturing whisky and yet the Glenfarclas range always offers great value across the age statements in their range.
The distillery is also one of the few still using directly fired stills, meaning an inconsistent temperature spread over the pot still and also it is harder to control the stills internal temperature compared to a steam heated still. Glenfarclas have kept this traditional approach after trying steam heating of the stills which they felt adversely affected the flavour of their spirit.
Currently the range consists of the 10, 12, 15, 17, 21, 25, 30 and 40 year old age statements. Their is the 18 year old Travel Retail exclusive and also the 105 Cask Strength which I will also be reviewing soon. The majority of the age statement range is bottled at 43% abv but in the case of the 15 it is bottled at 46% abv. Glenfarclas also don't use colouring or chill filtration.
This bottle cost me €45 from Home of Malts who are based in Germany but sadly no longer deliver to Britain or Ireland. It is available from Master of Malt for £51.83
A big hit of creamy, nutty sherry greets the nostrils. Dark chocolate with dried figs and prunes. The sherry notes run from dry (fino?) to sweet (oloroso for sure) and seem to change with each inhalation. Toasted almonds, raisins now. An oily note leads to cinnamon and nutmeg, with a little highland heather peat before reverting to wine notes again.
A little spicy heat on first sip breaks into orange oil and dark chocolate. Baking spices build and warm the back of the throat. Toasted nuts - walnuts, almonds and dark dried fruit tied together with a sweet malt note and that faintest of faint heathery peat smoke.
Reminiscent of christmas pudding and mince pie filling. Lovely stuff.
A very nice dram indeed and for me great value even at the £50 mark. It isn't a really sherry bomb like an Aberlour Abunadh or some of the Glendronachs. It is equal part sweet, equal part savoury and gives the palate lots to think about. The palate also marries well with the nose showing great balance between cask and spirit. One I will buy again.