Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Scottish Independence: Glenfarclas 15yr

Well, the votes have been counted, the news is in and this kingdom is continue as a united, yet fractured and slightly begrudging household. I see this is a good thing with various murmurings prior to voting that Scottish independence could cause a rise in prices of single malts - and nothing, boys and girls, is worth that...

As a nod to all those disappointed "Yes" voters I felt it would be good to take a look at a whisky from a vehemently independent distillery; Glenfarclas.

Glenfarclas is located in the Highlands and is famous for it's heavily sherry-matured whiskies - this is especially notable as it is often mentioned above its compatriot distilleries of Speyside who also specialise in that style.

The distillery was founded in 1836 and was bought in 1865 by John Grant. The Grant family still own and run the distillery, which is no mean feat, and particularly notable in an industry that is being taken over by the Diageos and Pernod-Ricards of the world.

On the nose, firstly there is a huge cooked and dried fruit kick with some dark rum aroma thrown in. Then there's citrus peel, nutmeg and cinnamon, with some mint as well, and a big whop of fino sherry blended just slightly with some olorosso. The overall effect is a complex and full-bodied nose that has great maturity and quality in depth.

On the palate there are raisins and nuts, rich, sweet spices, orange peel and a big splash of more sherry (pale cream this time) on top. This a wonderfully rich and full-bodied dram with a finish that lasts for days.

It is bottled at 46% (also, no added colour) and benefits from the slightest addition of water, as this helps bring out sweetness in toffee, marzipan and exotic fruits. The finish on this whisky, especially before the water, just lasts for days and is really amazing.

Glenfarclas is a very steady and somewhat traditional distillery, and while it has engaged in some innovations (such as being amongst the first distilleries to open a visitor centre), there is basically no crazy cask finish experimentation - all the whiskies are sherry matured.

This reliability and steadfastness is commendable whilst countless other distillers are becoming overly stylised, fashionable and over-egging the pudding whilst not stumping up in terms of quality.

This is an epically robust and full-bodied whisky that is pretty much Christmas cake in a bottle. Perfect for the winter or for celebrating continued relations with our Scottish cousins.

You can buy a bottle of Glenfarclas 15 from Master of Malt for £41.12 or from the Whisky Exchange for £45.45

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