For this quarter’s selection, we’re bringing you a scotch that is not for the faint of heart: The Glenfarclas Cask Strength Single Malt. First released in 1968, it was the first ever commercially available cask strength/barrel proof single malt whisky. Eventually re-named “105”, in reference to its alcohol content in British Proof, (60% ABV), this whisky does a persuasive job of hiding any presence of ethanol. A silky, subtly smoky dram makes this one of our favorite pours of the year!
In 1823, the Excise Act was put in place, which sanctioned small-scale distilling of whisky in return for a license fee and a set payment per gallon proof spirit. It would take original Glenfarclas owner Robert Hay 13 years to take out this license to begin legal operations. There is evidence the distillery operated before 1791, but I won’t be the one to tell on them. When Hay died in 1865, his neighbor John Grant purchased the distillery for £512 ($711.81 USD) and it’s been Grant family-owned ever since. Though the bottles themselves are labeled “Highland”, Glenfarclas is a ‘Speyside’ whisky distillery, as it is located in Ballindalloch, Scotland; the distillery was established pre-Speyside classification, and so retains this original designation. Any conversation revolving around Glenfarclas should always start with what separates them from other distilleries in today’s market: the affordability of their products. You can find their 21 year-aged whiskey on our website for $149! The price to age-statement ratio is unmatched, and accomplished without compromising the quality of the whisky. A fun fact is that their whisky stills are powered by direct fire (as opposed steam which is more commonly used today). They attribute the richness and age-ability of their whiskies to this method and are one of three remaining distilleries to do this (Glenfiddich and Springbank being the others). In 1981, the distillery attempted to switch over to steampowered stills, which is less costly; however, they were not happy with the results and returned back to direct fire stills. Cheers to Glenfarclas for prioritizing flavor!
Although, there is no age statement on the bottle, guesses are it is between 8-10 years old and aged in a combination of exsherry and bourbon casks. The whisky shows a honey-golden brown color. Aromas of sherry, hazelnut, honey, and subtle smoke. On the palate, a soft, silky entry with hints of peppery spice, dried citrus peels, and summer fruit. A long and lingering peppery finish rings in all the flavors to make this a perfectly balanced dram for any time
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