The Whisky Exchange Glenfarclas 15 Year Old 103 Proof

Originally published 04/04/2018

Today we enter the land of whisky shop exclusives! What better way to keep customers coming back than with a whisky that you can find nowhere else? (On a side note... good customer service also helps!) They are all at it, Master of Malt, The Whisky Barrel, Abbey Whisky to name a few. This one just happens to be from The Whisky Exchange.

So why did I happen to plump for this particular offering? Well along with a few friends I'm involved in a whisky club. We stick in a certain amount of cash each month and buy a bottle every month. The poor sods in question leave the choosing up to me, but I'm starting to believe that this is only so that they can blame someone when they don't like the choice in question.

As it happens though it's a great way of trying a wide variety of whiskies without having to stump up for a full bottle all by yourself. It means you can have a list, if you so wish, of whiskies you would happily buy a bottle of again as well as a list of shame... you may well find Jura and Fujikai on there. Being part of a club also brings a great social aspect to enjoying your dram and it never ceases to amaze me the wide variety of responses a single whisky can bring... from love, to full-blown apathy right through to utter disgust. It's all part of the fun!

As I was perusing the internet for the next bottle to pro-offer the club members I stumbled across this particular bottle. I personally am quite partial to the sherried goodness that is the Glenfarclas 15 year old and so was intrigued when I saw that the Whisky Exchange had a cask strength expression.

This expression is bottled at a healthy 58.6% abv and cost £80.65 from The Whisky Exchange... so a bit of a premium over the standard 15 year old.

TWE Glenfarclas 15 year old 103 Proof - Review

Colour: A medium amber.

On the nose: Quite a tight, lightly peppered nose on first nosing – probably a bit of alcohol vapour sting in there. Time opens it up a little more. Definitely less obvious sherry influence here than in the regular 15 year old. Very fruity and cereal driven. Malt, barley sugar and ripe red apples. Fruit salad sweets, nutmeg, light clove and an almost spiced rum note. There is an earthiness and herbal quality in the background. Water brings out honey and fresh cut flower notes.

In the mouth: A little alcohol bite on arrival but nothing too heavy-handed. Sweeter and lighter (even at cask strength) than the regular 15 year old. Lots of honey, lots of malt. Flapjacks, cinnamon swirls, nutmeg, stewed apples with ginger and a light smattering of toffee sauce. With water it is still syrupy sweet although some oakiness comes to the fore, a little drier with more ginger heat prominent. The finish is sweet, malt forward with a light brown sugar crumble coating.

Conclusions I didn't expect that! Do not buy this expecting to get a full-bore, untamed version of Glenfarclas 15 year old. This is very much its own thing and very different from the standard 15 year old bottling. It's a lighter, sweeter, more... dare I say it, typically Speyside dram. I would hazard a guess that this has been matured in refill casks as the sherry influence is a very much more in the background with the malt and honey notes being more forceful. The back of the bottle describes this as a breakfast whisky... I would probably admonish consuming this as a dessert whisky although I could easily imagine this livening up your morning bowl or porridge. All in all a very pleasant Glenfarclas but not one to set the imagination (or taste buds) running riot with. For me, I'll stick to the standard 15 year old which offers better value for money.

Score: 6/10

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