The following originally appeared on Guid Scotch Drink on June 27, 2010:
1974 saw a coal miners strike in the UK, Richard Nixon became the first US President to resign from the position, and India detonated its first nuclear weapon. Oh, and there was a global recession, gasoline shortages, and crippling inflation. But it wasn't all bad, the MRI was developed, Kojak was on the TV, and I was born! Thanks, Mum! I thought it would be fun to post tasting notes for the Glenfarclas Family Cask 1974 on my birthday. The bottle runs £255 but Master of Malt sells a 3cl sample for £14. Aged in a sherry butt, 555 bottles were released.
I love high ABV whiskies but this one is pretty tightly wound. As a result I'm going to post my notes sans water and then with two drops added.
Glenfarclas Family Cask 1974, 60.8% ABV
N: Hot but a careful sniff captures almonds, vanilla, and oak
P: Burns but there's a sweetness behind the heat, salt water taffy, and an abundance of beeswax
F: Dry but not astringent, woody but not bitter, the alcohol burns in the chest
Overall: Very difficult to enjoy without water. The alcohol attacks from the first to the last moment. Let's try this again...
Adding two drops of water:
N: Much softer and sweeter now with salted caramel, honey, and even buttered popcorn
P: The alcohol remains but without as much burn, lime zest, walnuts, soft toffee
F: Woody with a return of the salted caramel
Overall: A very different beast with the addition of water. Pleasantly woody and surprisingly salty. The sweet elements are counterbalanced by either the beeswax (sans water) or walnuts (with water). I'm lifting the rest to my Mum! Slainte!