Glenfarclas has long been one of my favorite distilleries. Family owned since the beginning, this sixth generation sesquicentennial company produces malt in a Burgudnian like manner, with an appreciation for their terroir and how it influences the whisky. They have never made more than they could afford to produce. They even eschew the regional ‘Speyside’ designation, preferring to keep ‘Highland’ on their label, because their distillery pre-dates the geographical Speyside classificaiton. Hipness aside, the two most important factors are that the whisky is delicious and considerably very affordable compared to its neighboring distilleries. One sip and you’ll agree. Enjoy it in health and with good company. Sláinte!
Whisk(e)y Evangelist, PlumpJack Wine & Spirits
Ballindalloch, Morayshire, Scotland
Distilled and Bottled by Glenfarlcas Distillery
Bottled @ 43% ABV no color added
Over the last 150 years, the Scotch whisky industry has been rife with ups and downs, stylistic evolutions, mergers and acquisitions and the occasional distillery closing. Very few have stayed consistent in ownership, quality, and operation like Glenfarclas. With the largest stills in the Speyside region, you would expect the malt to be a light spirit, but quite the opposite is true. This could be due to the fact that the stills are still directly coal fired. After trying to modernize to steam in 1981, they pulled the plug on that plan because it made the spirit too light and lean. The richness embodied in Glenfarclas makes it ageable for 50 years, and if you have the opportunity to taste older expressions, you’ll see that they do indeed get better with age.
Nearly all the whisky is matured in ex-European oak casks that previously held sherry. Combinations of first, second, third and fourth fill casks are blended together to create the different age expressions; the older ones usually seeing more first-fill and so on. The orientation at the foot of the Ben Rinnes mountain and maturation in stone dunnages ensures that the ‘Angel’s share’ is considerbly less than the industry average of 2% per year. Those who elect to age in paletized warehouses may lose as much as 5%. Glenfarclas manages to gently mature and oxidize, loosing a mear .05% per year. This ensures that the whisky mellows consistently for decades or to come.
The whisky pours a beautiful golden amber color into the glass with great viscosity. You can smell the rich oily, buttery malt flavors baked into an array of fruits like bananas, apples and oranges. After a little air, the fruits become more dried, oxidized and complex. Notes of raisin and date and dark chocolate emerge. The palate is complimentary with flavors of pecans, fig newton, caramel and toffee, with a long and gentle finish the leaves a lingering spice. Brilliant!
Suggested Food Pairing:
Chocolate orange cake
Blue cheese & honey