It’s the first review of 2013 (whoop etc) and as is customary here at the WhiskyMarketplace blog, that will do nicely as a excuse to feature a rather special dram from one of our favourite distilleries. Glenfarclas whiskies are perhaps best known and appreciated in the form of old, well-sherried bottlings and indeed, as a result of the distillery’s continued family ownership, for its enviable stock of such casks. This release, from what is now the oldest vintage left slumbering in their warehouses, was released last year and predictably caused quite a stir. With the likes of our good friend Serge Valentin involved in the selection of this cask, the liquid was sure to be excellent.
Glenfarclas is best known for its relative focus on “drinkers” Whisky and though admittedly the older vintages within the disillery’s Family Casks series are anything but cheap, comparatively speaking they are far from the dizzying prices we are coming to expect from the world of old, “ultra-premium collectors” malt. With that in mind, this release came as something of a departure, being bottled for Polish investment firm Wealth Solutions and presented in a rather fetching, beautifully crafted oak box. Happily, the Whisky was well distributed to interested parties so at least a number have been lucky enough to taste this, the oldest Glenfarclas yet bottled.
There’s so much to say about Glenfarclas whisky that it can be somewhat difficult to know where to start. Given that this is the first of what will be many posts to feature this venerable distillery, it seems only fair to highlight a few of the things that make Glenfarclas so special in the modern world of Single Malt Scotch. Situated in the rolling valleys of Ballindalloch, this Speyside distillery is unusual in having been family owned since 1865, with the Grant’s consistent stewardship having allowed it to avoid some of the modernisation common throughout the majority of the industry. The stills remain direct fired to this day, the full production is matured on site and the stock held in the warehouses is perhaps the most far-stretching and comprehensive of any distillery in Scotland.
Just this last week the sheer depth and wealth of the casks maturing at Glenfarclas was highlighted once more by the announcement of their oldest release yet; a 58 year old and one of the last four casks filled in 1953 left at the distillery. It is these old and frequently heavily sherried bottlings that have helped to cement the Glenfarclas reputation for quality. In all the reverence that surrounds the distillate produced in 50s, 60s and 70s, the standard releases can become a little overlooked, so before we get to posting reviews of those old sherry monsters (restraint can only last so long), let’s have a look at the more widely available 21 year old.