Glenfarclas 105

First bottled in 1968 (what I wouldn't give to get me hands on some of that!) Glenfarclas 105 is an original NAS that is bottled at high strength and well worth your attention. While the casks used are believed to be in the 8-10 year old age range the quality of sherry casks used is unsurpassed in the industry.

Glenfarclas 105, 60% alc., $85-90

C: Copper

N: Xmas cake coming and going (raisins, dark cherries, ginger, nutmeg, and orange zest), also clean rubber notes (like the inside of a dishwashing glove) and cold buttered toast (wholewheat toast given all the malty notes)

P: Huge and explosive, the sweet sherry dominates (more rubber notes crisscross the palate), the wood dries out the palate quite nicely while the orange zest from the nose has become chocolate covered orange peels

F: Long and warming, the alcohol resonates all the way down the throat and into the chest while the bitter wood sits in harmony with the sweet sherry

In conclusion: A benchmark cask strength whisky that should feature in everyone's collection. A personal favorite of mine for almost twenty years.

Glenfarclas 21 Year Old

Rebooting the blog with the Glenfarclas 25 Year Old that was hidden behind door #1 of Master of Malt's Whisky Advent Calendar this morning had me reaching for some Glenfarclas 21 Year Old on my shelf just to remind myself how tasty that is. Life is especially good in December!

Glenfarclas 21 Year Old, 43% alc., £67/$100

C: Gold

N: Stewed apples, golden raisins plumping up in a cup of boiling water, hint of fresh pencil shavings, and freshly grated nutmeg

P: So pleasingly warming with cooked fruits (steamed pears with ginger), malted barley, and a sherry sweetness that mingles with milk chocolate into the finish

F: Lingering sherry sweetness and milk chocolate with a comforting soft spice towards the end (thinking cinnamon sticks when you pull them out of a mug of hot chocolate)

In conclusion: This may very well be the best 21 year old general release on the market and a bit of a bargain at the price (which would have blown my mind a dozen years ago!). It does everything well and demonstrates exceptional balance.


Glenfarclas 25 Year Old

It's quite an honor when folk reach out to see if I'd like to review their book, whisky, or, sometimes, advent calendar. Such an honor, in fact, that it had me rebooting my whisky blog (now with more beer and probably mezcal!) in time for the first day of December. There are kinks to be worked out and archives to be filled but let's get to the reason we're here: Whisky Advent Calendars!

The good folk at Master of Malt have been having fun with spirits advent calendars for a few years now. This year they have rum, gin, bourbon, vodka, and several levels of whisky advent calendars. I'm honored to taste my way through the £125 "basic" offering.

It's finally time to swap out the horrid chocolate advent calendars of my youth for something a whole lot tastier. Behind window #1: Glenfarclas 25 Year Old, 43% alc., £90/$135.

C: Reflective copper

N: New bicycle tires (like on that racing bike you got for Xmas in 1988), dried orange peels, quite cakey

P: Cereal forward with a very pleasant maltiness, then a jamminess behind that, and some dark chocolate transitioning into the finish

F: Quite drying with dried dark fruits and hints of dark chocolate

In conclusion: Not as sherried as other Glenfarclas releases but still an extremely enjoyable dram and ideal for the season. It's hard to go wrong with Glenfarclas to begin with but what value for a 25 year old.

Sincere thanks to Master of Malt's Drinks By The Dram for the sample.