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

Dram Review: Glenfarclas The Family Casks 1971 Autumn 2014 Cask No. 147

[51.4%・Distilled in 1971・Bottled in 2014・43 Years Old・Official Bottling・Cask No. 147・Single Cask Release of 438 Bottles]

Nose:

Sugar caramelising into brown syrup, a vintage mahogany piece that has just been meticulously polished, with candied mandarins and dried cranberries bringing the brightness in acidity. Still, there is more to give in this dram, with fine vanilla grain and nutmeg later on drawing the oaky spices and leathery notes out.

Palate & Finish:

Warming and indulging with the Christmas themed affair, gummy bears with just a kick of candied ginger, the nectar of the fruits settles in as does a dignified, drying note from the wood with an aftertaste of dark chocolate thins.

The dark chocolate bitterness lingers, with spearmint and nutmeg as the oak gradually unfolds into dried fruits of sorts, figs , plums, cherries and mandarins.

Thoughts:

Much like an evening you can’t relive, chances are I will not see this dram again; I know these words weigh heavy but then again I think being melancholic is missing the point, the idea of an evening well spent is not necessarily something that requires proof of lasting memories.

☆☆☆ [Most Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Glenfarclas The Family Casks 1986 Autumn 2014 Cask No. 3456

[55.5%・Distilled in 1986・Bottled in 2014・28 Years Old・Official Bottling・Cask No. 3456・Single Cask Release of 542 Bottles]

Nose:

Assertively oak driven, seasoned with incense spices, toasted granola with cinnamon and chocolate dust. Notes of raisins and mandarin gradually easing their way in.

Palate & Finish:

The initial acidity of the fruits is swiftly mellowed out by a thick maple syrup, though the dram retains its freshness and zesty vibe, a tad rubbery on the mid-palate with some cocoa butter note.

Getting woodier in the finish and tails off with a creamy hot chocolate note.

Thoughts:

Flavour-wise it is exciting and on any given day it feeds the thirst for a Sherry bomb, but the Sherry cask influence is rather intense, with the wood driving in the flavours quite forcefully.

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Glenfarclas The Family Casks 1981 Autumn 2014 Cask No. 1603

[52.9%・Distilled in 1981・Bottled in 2014・33 Years Old・Official Bottling・Cask No. 1603・Single Cask Release of 529 Bottles]

Nose:

Marmalade of ripe apricots and figs, silky with a luscious Sherry creaminess. Natural nuts with hint of cheddar and coconut butter with a hint of pear sweetness.

Palate & Finish:

Creamy texture of pears and coconuts with just a hint of Sherry acidity, some double creamed brie melts into waves of malt and charred oak. Sticky strawberries preserve with walnuts and cinnamon then sip out along with a minty follow through.

FInishing adorably with wee notes of strawberry jam and caramelised pineapple slices.

Thoughts:

Delightfully matured and appropriate, it’s attractive but perhaps a little bit restrained for a Glenfarclas single cask at only 33 years of age.

It’s older, but better, but older..

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Distilled at My Favourite Distillery 1976

[53.0%・Distilled in 1976・Bottled in 2010・33 Years Old・Thosop BVBA Belgium Bottling・Cask No. 1420・Single Cask Release]

Nose:

Is this a bouquet of vanilla and wood, caramel and beeswax that I am getting? Or is this love that I’m feeling?

Goes deeper and you’d notice the alluringly fragrant floral setting as notes of custard apples develop things into a creamy, fruity affair.

Palate & Finish:

Rewarding satisfaction from the creamed honey and vanilla custard sweetness, and beneath the warmness lies some succulent notes of orange marmalade and wee tropical fruits.

Orange sherbet, Granny Smith apple pie filling, some passion fruit syrup with just a brush of ginger flower and cereal notes to bring it back.

Thoughts:

The distillery is probably not a hard guess, but it’s surprising how this cask is just on point, an immaculate delivery of textures and flavours.

Probably my favourite Bourbon cask expression from the distillery in a great many years. It’s a shame only so few bottles exist..

Some soul from Allen Stone would go very nicely.

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Glenfarclas Selected and Bottled for Mr. Edward Giaccone 21 Years Old

[51.5%・Distilled Circa 1950s・Bottled Circa 1970s・ 21 Years Old・Official Bottling・Limited Release]

Nose:

This feels substantial, as intensely Sherried as one would have hoped for from a proper Glenfarclas of yesteryear.  Creamy vanilla fudge churned away with this oily caramel paste, drizzled generously with milk chocolate sundae sauce, and topped with peanut butter brittle, hazelnut cream and cinnamon dust alongside dried Seville Orange cubes. 

Palate & Finish:

There is a certain sense of lavishness in the delivery, in saying that though the balance is assuring.  Confident spirit driving through notes of sweet prunes and dark plums, evening out with raw dark chocolate as the Sherry influence continues to blossom on the mid-palate, bringing about a pinch of chilli spices.

Cinnamon and wood with a lengthy sweet barley note, with hints of brown sugar syrup and a lasting toffee lolly tail.

Thoughts:

The masculinity of the Glenfarclas spirit is presented through the well executed manipulation of refined Sherry influence, one of the most striking and technically impeccable Glenfarclas I have the pleasure of having, albeit lacking a truly magical moment through the dramming experience.

Well done Mr. Grant and congratulations Mr. Giaccone.

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

-Nicholas

Whisky Review: Glenfarclas The Family Casks 1989 #13005 Summer 2018

Style: Sherry and Herbal

Nose:

Powerful peppermint spice followed a deep, luscious sherry aroma. Raisins, plums, umeboshi stacking on top of malt sponge cake. Light brown sugar coating, camphor and eucalyptus forming a sweet herbal front. A bit tight though. Overripe kumquat beaming at the back. An oaky brush underlining it.

Palate:

Sherry malt manifest in a deep, sonorous form. Cherry pie, tobacco leaves, strawberry jam toast, dried plums, the sweetness is nicely buffed up by the black pepper spice. Pine/herbal overtone continues while brown sugar rounds off the palate neatly. Pencil shavings, incensed wood and cigar wrappings threading through the expression. Peppermint heat humming and radiating gently at the background, kumquat and more umeboshi condensed beautifully at the back.

Finish:

Cherries, cranberries, more plums, assorted red fruits lingering. Grape skin with just a touch of brown sugar giving a soft bitter-sweet finish. Delicious.

Thoughts:

Glenfarclas sherry bomb striking on the herbal front. The red fruits sweetness is beautifully condensed on top of the malt while the herbal and oak bitterness build around the core comfortably. Very clean and sweet, my goodness, this is dangerously easy-drinking. Maybe a tad too medicinal and, just like its sister cask, the expression is rather straightforward, but otherwise this is another solid Glenfarclas.

☆ [Recommended]

[52.3% | Original Bottling | 1989 Distilled | 2018 Bottled | Aged 28-29 Years | Cask Number: 13005 | Matured in a Sherry Butt | Single Cask | Cask Strength | Natural Colour | 449 Bottles | *+]

-Esmond

Whisky Review: Glenfarclas The Family Casks 1989 #13004 Winter 2015

Style: Sherry and Spicy

Nose:

Begins with a good dose of Glenfarclas Sherry goodness – Black currants, Christmas cake, figs, meat loaf supplemented by peppermint and a pinch of dry, black pepper, all sweet and spicy. Digging deeper we have tiny stone fruit chunks embedded in a hefty malt cake, followed by some dark fruits, prunes, plums, ruby grapes and black liquorice at the tail. Powerful, but very nice.

Palate:

Waves of dedemara sugar splashing in and carry ample red fruits onto the palate. Malt combines with the sherry to maximum effect, jammy toast, dark cherries, a little glass of Cosmo, dried strawberries, almond croissants, pleasantly sweet and dimensional. An understratum of cinnamon, vanilla sugar and black pepper, while a firm peppermint spine running through the expression. Wood shavings, stone fruits quietly slipping under, cherry tart, fragrant malt cake, a handful of dry barley gradually showing at the end.

Finish:

Roasting marshmallows next to a coal fire, vanilla cream leading to a satisfying sherry finish.

Thoughts:

A very classic, solid and plucky Glenfarclas we have here. Multiple layers of malt are forged to sustain and link up with the robust sherry in a beautiful manner. Energetic and very self-assured. Probably a tad too straightforward for some but honestly, a textbook sherry Glenfarclas will do you no wrong for a nightcap.

☆ [Recommended]

[52.4% | 1989 Distilled | 2015 Bottled | Aged 25-26 Years | Single Cask | Cask Strength | 625 Bottles | Cask Number: 13004 | Matured in a Sherry Butt | *+]

-Esmond

Whisky Review: Glenfarclas 2008 1st Fill Sherry Hogshead selected and bottled for Whisky & Wisdom Edition 2

Style: Sherry and Spicy

Nose:

Sweet cherries, dark chocolate, Christmas cake, cranberries… Ahhh all the sherry goodness… Flipping to the spicy side, ginger shreds, nutmeg, cinnamon bark and plenty of black peppercorn supporting the sweetness. Around the core we have some comfortable floral side notes, blueberries, lifting up the minty lid, a dense malt is showing incredible depth all the way down. Massive aroma.

Palate:

Begins with a direct, fiery sherry strike, reminds me very much of my first sip of Glenfarclas 105… Powerful, but juicy. Forest berries, prunes, dark cherries, apples and overripe figs simmered and condensed to high quality sweetness. Walnut oak and tannins begin to show, but it is nicely insulated by a layer of marzipan. Coal fire ambers crackling gently, remaining malt combines with peppermint to make one final push.

Finish:

Polished sherry coated with creamy vanilla, oak bits, a gentle and sweet finish.

Thoughts:

The special thing about young Sherry Glenfarclas cask strength like this is, you can see it is more than just a hot bowl of sherry soup, the malty core is able to sustain, support and enhance the massive red fruit notes; there is a clean, visible structure which builds up a colossal vessel to encompass the sherry juggernaut while allowing the nuances to flourish around it. Not just a simple sherry bomb – I suppose this is probably why Glenfarclas is probably Speyside’s finest. Such a big dram.

☆ [Recommended]

[59.8% | Original Bottling | 2008 Distilled | 2018 Bottled | Single Cask | Non Coloured | Non Chill Filtered | 319 Bottles | Cask Number: 1270 | Aged 10 Years | *]

-Esmond

Whisky Review: Glenfarclas The Family Casks 1987 Bottled for Shinanoya to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Silence Bar

Style: Fruity, Sherry and Refined

Nose:

Rich plums and blackberries waltzing in gracefully, a light creamy and peppermint touch to lift the aroma. Rich, but gentle. Raw almonds and mango sorbet slipping under, a handful of dried raspberries and cranberries scattered around casually. A more steady malt biscuit notes emerge. Quite nice.

Palate:

Quite similar to what the nose has suggested. Another boost from blueberries and plums. Mango Pavlova gently drizzled with crème de menthe. Almonds, malt biscuits building up to a more steady core in the middle. A hint of cranberry croissants highlighted with a subtle sherry-floral overtone. Lemon marzipan lingers, while polish oak, tannins and cigar box notes kick in at the back.

Finish:

A sherry finishing touch on a comfortable almond cookie and malt.

Thoughts:

A thoughtful Glenfarclas teasing the line of richness and lightness. Sherry-laden no doubt, but there is an airiness in the spirit which deftly levitates the expression with its fruity and floral strokes. I love it. A refined and poetic selection.

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

[Original Bottling / 44.5% / 1987 Distilled / 2017 Bottled / Single Cask / Cask Number: 3813 / 003 of 265 Bottles / Aged 30 Years / Cask Strength / Tasted at bar / **]

-Esmond

Tasted at Club Qing, Hong Kong.