Official Glenfarclas bottles have passed me by for a number of years until now. One of an increasingly exclusive club of independently run Scottish distilleries they produce good value speyside whiskies which are available all over the world. When Billy Walker reinvented GlenDronach I suspect they took a bit of a hit in sales and market share as sherry lovers moved on to the latest thing but for those who know Glenfarclas is a better value proposition.
The name Glenfarclas means “Valley of the green grass” and was officially registered as a distillery in 1835 by original owner Robert Hay who owned the farm the distillery is based at. Prior to this distillation was an additional illegal revenue stream for the farm using the grains cultivated in the fields. The location of the distillery in Speyside is near the village of Ballindalloch.
When Mr Hay died the distillery was bought by the neighbouring farmer John Grant and it is this family which continues to own the business to this day. As far as life changing business decisions go that has to be up there as one of the best surely. The business has famously been quite conservative in how it goes about making money. At the very start of its life under the Grants the family entered into a share arrange with the Pattison brothers which were the very embodiment of high stakes entrepreneurship where almost all of there ideas and practices were if not illegal then certainly now. Since 1898 when the family acquired full ownership of the business they have borrowed money rarely and reinvested profits regularly with a forward thinking strategy on single malt production, tourism and long term maturation.
Today, Glenfarclas has 6 stills producing up to 3 million litres of alcohol a year and sells 700,000 bottles annually. There core range of age statement whiskies runs from a 10 year old all the way to a 40 year old. Each bottles represents one of the keenest price points in each segment which makes it an excellent gifted whisky for birthday milestones.
The 10 year old is the youngest of the age stated range from Glenfarclas and is bottled at 40% ABV. All Glenfarclas whiskies are matured in ex-sherry casks and this one is 100% Oloroso sherry butts and hogsheads. To buy a bottle it is affordable but not Glen Moray affordable at £35 in the UK.
Colour – Straw
Nose – Cloves are quite obvious initially with some malty notes hinting at some youth. There is citric rinds and savoury nutmeg in here as well along with woody spices. The savoury gives way to a touch of sweetness in time though
Palate – The texture is very thick and viscous which is noticeable from the legs in the glass as well. There are more fruit notes in the mouth with oranges and dried fruits along side. A new aspect is a hint of charring giving an earthy aspect. However, there is a hollow empty aspect to the palate which is disappointing.
Finish – Dry finish but not very long. Touch of chilli heat and the leaves of the curry plant.
I wouldn’t consider this layered or complex but it is mostly interesting. A jobbing whisky but then for the price and age that is its purpose. Over the entire range I think this is the only one which shows more of the spirit character than any of the others which take on more of the wood influence than the delicate mellow spirit flavours can handle.