Welcome to KWM Whisky Advent Day 24 – Glenfarclas 25 Year
It is Christmas Eve, the last night of Advent, and the second last whisky in our 2015 Calendar. Whether you are enjoying the malt and a quiet night at home, sharing it with friends and family or saving it for a special occasion, I hope you’ll agree we are closing on a high note. The Glenfarclas 25 Year has been one of my favourite whiskies for over a decade. Over that time I’ve seen it evolve and change slightly from batch to batch, but it has never disappointed. It has to change by nature of the fact that whisky is matured in oak casks and no two are perfectly alike. The Glenfarclas 25 Year was one of a range of eight 25 year old whiskies my whiskies club tasted and compared at out Christmas party this year. I recalled that in past years the Glenfarclas 25 was more of a sherry bomb, big, rich and spicy. The more recent bottlings, while still showing lots of old sherried character, are more subtle and if anything a little more layered and complex. That more nuanced style is in my wheelhouse these days… change need not always be feared.
We sampled another Glenfarclas in the 2015 Whisky Advent Calendar, the Glenfarclas 21 Year on Day 12, so we I’ll try not to rehash anything already said concerning Scotland’s second oldest family owned distillery. The Grant family who owns the Glenfarclas Distillery is in their 5th and 6th generations, with father John and son George currently running the distillery. It is a curious fact that each of the six members of the Grant family to own Glenfarclas have all be named either John or George, beginning with John Grant in 1865. The distillery was licensed in 1836, but there is some evidence that it may date back well into the 1700s.
At a couple of points this past month I’ve mentioned the Pattison Whisky Crash, which devastated the Scotch whisky industry at the turn of the 20th Century. The Grant Family had partnered with Pattison Elder & Co., as had many other firms, and they were nearly brought under. Forced to sell almost all the casks in their warehouse just to keep the distillery it took the family 15 years to rebuild its position. A new path was charted, the family would never rely on outside investors ever again, and it has not. Like another family owned whisky business, Gordon & MacPhail, the Grants had a foresight regarding mature whiskies that most other Scottish distilleries did not. In 2007 they launched the Glenfarclas Family Casks an initial offering of single cask stretching from 1994 all the way back to 1952. No other distillery in Scotland has such an unbroken depth of vintage whiskies. Never needing to worry about investors looking for dividends in lean years, the family business is able to play the long game. The Glenfarclas Family Casks have been a roaring success, and nearly a decade on hundreds and hundreds of casks have been bottled.
Glenfarclas 25 Year – 43% – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: peach crumble, decadent vanillans, oranges, mango and canned pineapple; soft spices, earthy-aoky tones and a hint of pine. Palate: big, rich and very fruity; layers of spices, fruit and balanced oak; more peach crumble, flambeyed banana, pineapple and mango; it tastes old, antique-y: like opening an old book with a sherry in a soft leather armchair. Finish: long, fruity and rich; the layers continue long into the finish. Comment: not as heavily sherried as I remember older vintages to have been, but more subtle, layered and complex; a beautiful old malt.”
Stay tuned for Day 25 of KWM Whisky Advent Tomorrow