Whisky Review: Glenfarclas The Family Casks 1973 Aged 33 Years

Style: Sherry, Fruity and Spicy

Nose:
Spiritus opening, not surprised given this crazy abv. The tightness opens up shortly and gives way to a cranberry flush. Meanwhile, beef stock and bullion lurking subtly one level down. Sherry signatures – red currants, Black Forest cake and liquorice come into life and strolling on a narrow, one-way lane. White floral confectionaries unveiled as the tone ascends quickly alongside with a peppermint spike. Dedemara sugar and plum wine setting a serene scene towards the end.

Palate:
Less strained and spirit-y as the nose has suggested. Plenty of ruby grapes, brown sugar and roasted almonds assembled together to give a beautiful Oloroso-entrance. Spice is still surfing on high tides and controlling the expression. Milk chocolate block, abundant fresh ginger shreds giving an incredible zing while raisinets sitting comfortably at the core. Walnut oak and rum raisin cake. Peeling off a layer of glazed oranges exposes a pristine malt carrying a faint hint of wood smoke.

Finish:
More glazed tropical fruits, clean malt with red fruits rolling back slowly. Typical sherry finish.

Thoughts:
Despite being laid down for 33 long years, the spirit of probably Speyside finest remains pretty defiant of its destiny, resulting a high-power fruit bomb which hardly gives away anything. Any chance this is a 105 run (were they doing that in 1973 though?) which ended up making the Family Casks cut? I don’t know, but the style is quite similar. Now, while this is not dark sauce sherry but there is sufficient amount of red fruits to sustain the raw power and creates a nice and powerful expression.

☆ [Recommended]


[58.8%| Original Bottling| Single Cask| Cask Number:2578| 457 Bottles| 1973 Distilled| 2007 Bottled| Cask Strength| Sherry Butt *+]

-Esmond

Whisky Review: Gordon & Macphail Reserve Longmorn 1966 Aged 44 Years Bottled for Van Wees

Style: Sherried and Dignified

Nose:
Extraordinary amount of red rates, cranberries, black currants, walnuts, oak and wood varnish dominating the aroma. Incredibly sherried, dense and slightly acidic. Underneath the sea of sherry sits a nice golden malt, fragrant white flowers and stewed fruits. Curry leaves, peat smoke and minimal sulphur which resembles smoky chicken broth. Slight metallic tang. Gentle prod from spearmint whereas green grass overtone rising into the air. Cornflakes and strawberry jam towards the end. Very nice.

Palate:
Dense, tart and tightly-assembled dark sherry unleashed onto the palate. Assorted red fruits, Oloroso signatures but it also tasted like an oxidised Madeira as well. Walnuts, almonds, sultanas in chocolate ice cream. The fruit spectrum slowly widens to glazed pears and kumquat. Icing sugar and saw dust. Subtle wood smoke lighted up by flint sparks. Roasted duck salad with cherry sauce, peppermint strawberry ice tea and green tobacco leaves. The sherry and the malt realign at the back, chocolate malt with touch of espresso to finish.

Finish:
Sherry, sherry, sherry, no surprise here. Dark forest cake, malt and stewed tropical fruits with a touch of smoke. Sweet and delicious.

Thoughts:
Distillate from the 60s are rare as hen’s teeth these days and I am proud to own (and drink!) a piece of liquid history which illustrates an “old school” style of whisky-making in that era. This ultra-matured sherry bomb is so rich and dense that the subtleties had a pretty hard time to penetrate through the thick sherry armour, they are there, but patience is required. My friend and I discussed and agreed this is probably a paxaratted cask, it was a common practice at those times after all. Personally, I prefer to see more of the distillery character, but who I am to complain when this is all sweet and delicious?

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

[44.3%| Independent Bottling| 1966 Distilled| 2011 Bottled| Single Cask| Cask Number: 5063| Bottle Number: 138 of 283| First-Fill Sherry Butt **]

-Esmond

Whisky Review: Rare Malts Selection Teaninich 1973 Aged 23 Years

Style: Spicy and Fruity

Nose:
Woah! Spice striking at a rather ferocious velocity and amplitude, well, that’s Rare Malts for you. A little bit of heathery up front, tropical fruits, honey mead and green leaves emerge as the heat wave subsides. White chocolate, soft hint of Jasmine flowers and sweet cranberries compote (perhaps a result of OBE) forming a waxy, luscious core. A pinch of five spices, white oak shavings, peppermint garnished on top of a gentle cereal malt. Pretty good, but perhaps some water might be needed to tame this dram.

Palate:
Powerful chilli spice cuts a searing path, with maximum flavours of apricots yoghurt, creamy white chocolate and steaming Sakura green tea flowing through the red-hot trails. Wood smoke plus a hint of vegetal peat (maybe?) gelled together by tropical fruits agar agar and paraffin wax. Lemon-orange citrus and Kensington mangoes slowly unravel as the spirit begins to shine. Fennel, asparagus and mint dressed on top of barley and malt.

Finish:
Sakura-matcha flavoured Kit-kat, dried apricots and red cranberries rolling around. Aloe vera jelly with minimal oak to finish.

Thoughts:
For whatever reason, it seems the Rare Malts selection tends to be very spicy regardless of its abv. When I turn the bottle around and look at the back label, it reads, “To enjoy this… at its best, measure one-part whisky to two parts still water at room temperature.” Ha! Guess I am doing it wrong all along. Back to this dram, once you adapt to its intensity, the handsome reward is an incredibly rich, creamy texture that you can almost die for. Together with the bountiful flavours and reasonably complex layerings, for a cask-strength drinker like me, it is a rather exquisite dram.

☆ [Recommended]

[57.1%| Original Bottling| 1973 Distilled| Limited Edition| Natural Cask Strength| Bottle Number: 552 *+]

-Esmond