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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

December 20, 2017


A few Glenfarclas (Glenfarcli?)

Cadenhead have had a few new independent ones in recent months, and I thought that was a good opportunity to revisit a part of the distillery’s core range. And perhaps others…

Glenfarclas 8 yo (40%, OB, +/-2017)

Glenfarclas 8 yo (40%, OB, +/-2017) Three stars The older 8 from the 1960s was totally stunning, but this is a newer beast… Colour: white wine. Nose: rather hot, a little spirity, with some dough, baker’s yeast, grass, hay, and crushed almonds. I find it dry and perhaps a little too rough… Crushed leaves. Mouth: a little rounder, with good oranges and touches of raisins in the arrival, but it tends to become rather too grassy and harsh for me after just three seconds, although it would improve again after, say ten minutes. Biscuits, marmalade, Jaffa cake. Finish: medium, with nice notes of black mint tea. Marmalade again in the aftertaste. Comments: needs a little time to lose its harshness from the youth, but gets then really ‘nice’, as they say in whisky forums. SGP:451 – 80 points.

Glenfarclas 10 yo (40%, OB, +/-2017)

Glenfarclas 10 yo (40%, OB, +/-2017) Three stars and a half I haven’t formally tried the 10 since… 2010. WF 81 was the score. Colour: gold. Nose: starts very malty, gets then fruitier. Overripe apples in abundance, some orange cake, a touch of charcoal, raisins, and a nice warm brioche straight from the baker’s. More roundness that in the 8, which sounds pretty normal, doesn’t it. Mouth: UMC, I would say. Better than many counterparts from other makers, with many cakes, café latte, malty drink (Ovaltine), and once again, oranges and marmalade. This is perfect in its own category, and frankly, I had forgotten, how good this easily available malt was. Finish: medium, clean, raisiny, with figs and malt. Chicory. Comments: I’m fairly impressed. Solid malt whisky for a very fair price (last time I checked). SGP:551 - 84 points.

Glenfarclas 15 yo (46%, OB, +/-2017)

Glenfarclas 15 yo (46%, OB, +/-2017) Three stars and a half Some classic sherried Speysider that everyone should have tried. WF 84 last time I had, but that was in… 2006 (feeling shame here at WF Towers). Colour: gold. Nose: not that different from the 10, just cake-ier, more sherried, and rather more complex, with small herbs, a mossy side, and a large chocolate cake. Touches of yeasty porridge in the background. Fresh pumpernickel bread. Mouth: really very cake-y, malty, with raisins and some very lovely touches of spearmint. I’m also finding a delicate wood smoke, as well as the usual walnuts when we’re having a sherried malt such as this one. Goody good. Finish: rather long, and shall I dare mention Christmas cakes? And yet it’s not heavy. Comments: I just couldn’t tell you which one I like best, between the 10 and the 15. Both are top class in their categories. SGP:551 - 84 points.

Good, we know have a solid foundation, we may try some indies…

The Hielanman 45 yo 1971/2015 (38.3%, Cadenhead, Spirit drink, 75 bottles)

The Hielanman 45 yo 1971/2015 (38.3%, Cadenhead, Spirit drink, 75 bottles) Five stars Not whisky since it had dropped below 40% vol. As for the distillery, I don’t think that’s totally a secret. Colour: gold. Nose: get-out-of-here! It’s akin to those marvellous early 1970s ‘undisclosed Speysides’ (even more of those soon on WF), with the most subtle and enthralling combination of honeys, figs, waxes, and metal parts. Polishes, oils, bits of copper, bits of iron… Then we find a winning trio, menthol plus eucalyptus plus camphor. That always works!  Mouth: well, it isn’t weak, its just a tad oaky at first sips (cedar wood), but the magnificent waxy fruitiness is soon to come to the rescue. Honeydew, pollens, very old chardonnay, a touch of sour apple, a pinhead of balsamico, a drop of Yquem (this is Christmas time, you know)… Now do the missing 40-38.3=1.7% vol. feel? Absolutely not. Finish: medium, lovely, honeyed, date-y. A drop of old moscatel, perhaps. Comments: at 38.3%, we’ve got a good excuse to do nothing but drink more of this baby, and that’s not its only advantage. SGP651 - 90 points.

Now some Glenfarclas that says it’s Glenfarclas…

Glenfarclas 27 yo 1990/2017 (51.9%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, hogshead, 210 bottles)

Glenfarclas 27 yo 1990/2017 (51.9%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, hogshead, 210 bottles) Four stars and a half Cadenhead’s Glenfarclasses often went into all directions, but isn’t that what we’re expecting from an independent bottler? Colour: straw. Nose: indeed, this is something else. Think some kind of apple compote with bits of mint leaves and a dollop of heather honey, plus some wood smoke and a wee meatiness, with even drops of proper English gravy. With water: not many changes. Perhaps more malt and yeast. That’s right, bread. Mouth (neat): rather tense, close to the distillate, and yet a tad caramelly, with superb oranges and tangerines. Extremely to my liking, but it’s true that we’ve had other excellent 1990s from this distillery. Do you believe in vintages in whisky? With water: excellent, that’s all I’ll say. Finish: long, a little earthy, but quick to go back towards malt and oranges. Touches of lemon in the aftertaste, always welcome. Comments: actually, it was a Glenfarclas that wasn’t that far from most officials. SGP:561 - 88 points.

Glenfarclas 28 yo 1988/2017 (53%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon hogshead, 210 bottles)

Glenfarclas 28 yo 1988/2017 (53%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon hogshead, 210 bottles) Four stars and a half This ought to be similar, even if the vintage is different… Colour: gold. Nose: no, this one’s tenser, grassier, with more earth and herbs, and rather less classic Glenfarclasness. Some leather, cigars, teas, fresh cardamom … I wouldn’t say there’s a lot standing out so far, but water may help… With water: hay… Classic development… Mouth (neat): ah no, this is superb! Full of oomph and zing, perhaps a tad angular but I like that, with malty oranges and a superb breadiness, zests, marmalade, tobacco… With water: perfect malty distillate, from a cask that smartly kept quiet. I’m often quoting panettone, well this is liquid panettone. Auguri! Finish: medium, rounder, malty, with cakes and scones and marmalade in the aftertaste. Breakfast: done. Comments: as good as it gets. Classic malty malt whisky of proper age. SGP:551 - 88 points.

Good, I think we shall do a second session, because we had more of those than expected in the (not so) small boxes…

More tasting notes Check the index of all Glenfarclas I've tasted so far






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