Monday, 30 December 2013

Glenfarclas 40 and a random flight

Advent Calendar 24/24!

I must say the advent calendar has been as interesting and educational as I’d hoped, but it’s been almost hard work keeping up with the damn thing.  The final sample is the Glenfarclas 40 year old, a quite sublime whisky and as old as any I’ve ever tasted.

I’ve waiting until now to try this as I had a power cut and frankly, its been a bit end of days round these parts.  My palate has only just recovered from the shock! 

I thought I’d preface the 40 with a couple of other Glenfarclas I have in stock.

Glenfarclas 2003, The W Club Launch, 46% B⊕


Nose – Tight rum and raisin, rich dried figs.  Brightly sweet, wet varnish.  Sweet pine resin, marker pen and the sweet top note of petrol.  A slightly sulphurous back note.  Pleasant but obvious (the tone of the whisky, not the sulphur - which is fine).

Body – Spicy wood, chilli, less sweet than the nose suggests.  Less rich also, a bit artificial.  The balance is a little off - too sweet.

Finish – Short, uncomplicated, otherwise unflawed.  Slightly sulphurous backing with well integrated plan oak.  Lingering oily raisin and wood is very pleasant.

What's not good about it:
Obvious rum and raisin, un-interesting body and quite short finish.  Lacks complexity and elegance.

What’s good about it:  Does what is says on the tin.  Well balanced, deep nose, young, chocolaty.

Glenfarclas 28 yo, SMWS 1.168 (Delightfully Dulcet Deliciousity), 53.3% A⊕


Thanks for Johnnie Stumbler (gentleman, scholar, etc) for a drop of this stunner.  As the SMWS advertise, these single casks bear no relation to the distillery’s core range.  This seems a perfect advert for the SMWS, bearing Glenfarclas’ DNA but hardly recognisable as such.  Its also amazing.

Nose – Deep yet bright. Ripe cherry, almonds, a little marker pen with a light, cereal backing. Strawberry jam on shortbread.  Wonderfully light, refreshing red fruit over the top of it all – underneath a sultry, musky backbone.

Body – Rich, fruitily spiced cereal.  Bright and sweet with an unfaltering base of ripe, matured and very natural malt.  Stunning, plus strawberry burps.

Finish – Long, wooded, more malt.  Strays into bitterness briefly before returning with sweet, oily malt and lingering almonds.

What's not good about it:  Finish just falters with that bitterness – momentarily unbalanced.

What’s good about it:  Stunning nose, use of strawberries, incredible integration, intensely fruity yet beautifully balanced, no off notes whatsoever.  I’ll be keeping an eye out for this at auction.

Glenfarclas 40 year old, 46% A⊕+


This has more in common with the W Club bottling than the SMWS, although it is, of course, significantly more mature.

Nose – Deep but light, extremely smooth.  Some light Mexican spice.  Deep, stewed plums (no sharpness, just the mellowed body).  The dark mellow fruit is perfectly balanced by that Glenfarclas sherry oak.  There’s also a chew/fruit salad/wham bar edge to it that’s deeply sweet and tropical - all backed by leather and ancient varnished wood.  A little musk, dark rich and fruity, marker pens and lychees.  Wow.

Body – Rich, creamy, extremely smooth oily wood.  Raisin halo, chocolate and malt.  Deeply luxurious.

Finish – Long, chocolate and raisins like a fruit and nut bar.  Orange zest.  Rinses down into milk chocolate and glace cherries.

What's not good about it: Nothing, unless you don’t like this style.

What’s good about it:  Bright, balanced, rich nose.  Incredibly chocolatey.  Well integrated and smooth, but doesn’t lack structure.  Smooth, well integrated wood tannins on the palate.  Deep, long, wooded finish.  Just stunning. 

Thanks Master of Malt for the education. 

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