On Tuesday, November 29th we hosted a tasting of much of the Glenfarclas lineup here at Kensington Wine Market.
Glenfarclas is the second oldest family operated distillery in Scotland. The distillery has been owned by the Grant Family for six generations and because of this it has a lot of tradition behind it.
The Grants are very careful with their distillery – the current generation always makes a great effort to ensure the the next generation has plenty of barrels aging to build upon. The next generation in turn maintains the business and bottlings with the same practiced patience of those that preceded. This means that this Speyside distillery has much more older stock still available and aging away than you would find at many others around Scotland.
Because of all of this Glenfarclas has one of – if not the – most impressive lineups of any Scottish Distillery when it comes to showcasing a variety of ages. Because of this we were able to taste our way through the following:
#1 – Glenfarclas 12yr / 43% ABV / $68
I have always considered this the best starting point for the Glenfarclas line – very approachable with great malt and some sherry influence. This is a solid everyday single malt.
#2 – Glenfarclas 15yr / 46% ABV / $95
The higher ABV really amps up the spice notes and the heat. Big, bold sherry influence on this one.
The 15yr is bottled at a higher strength because George Scott Grant (who passed away in 2002) always preferred it that way.
#3 – Glenfarclas 17yr / 43% ABV / $108
The 17yr is only sold in North America, Japan, and Sweden. I consider it the unsung hero in this group. It is a solid single malt at a very good price.
#4 – Glenfarclas £511.19s.0d / 43% ABV / $160
This is an interested no age statement bottling from Glenfarclas that was introduced in 2015 to celebrate the Grant family having owned the distillery for 150 years. There is a story behind the name of this bottle of Glenfarclas. Here is some information from the distillery website:
“On the 8th of June 1865, John Grant, 1st generation of the Grant family, bought the distillery for £511.19s.0d. His grandsons, John and George, later formed the company J. & G. Grant and to this day it remains an independent business and firmly in the hands of the family’s 5th & 6th generation.
“The £511.19s.0d Family Reserve, a non-chill filtered bottling at 43%, is a vatting of predominantly first fill sherry butts which proudly embodies the distillery’s sherry profile, bringing together all the character of this great spirit across the generations. Sweet and rich sherry, like a toffee syrup over a freshly toasted French baguette, the nose promises fresh fruit smothered in heather honey, ending almost like a sweet port. Then a dry yet sweet taste, a lovely balance of fruit, light nuttiness and milk chocolate develop, followed by a very palatable long and easy finish. A copy of the original bill of sale is included with each bottle along with a note from George Grant explaining the significance of the £511.19s.0d Family Reserve to the Grant family tradition.”
#5 – Glenfarclas 21yr / 43% ABV / $148
#6 – Glenfarclas 25yr / 43% ABV / $265
I always seem to enjoy tasting and also getting others to taste the 21yr and 25yr from this distillery back to back. To me one shows finesse and elegance that makes it sexy and approachable. The other is slightly bolder and more structured in style with more wood spice and tobacco and leather notes coming through – leading to a longer slightly drying finish. It is fun to see which style people prefer – it typically seems to end up being a 50/50 split between the two ages.
But that was not all… After we tasted the standard Glenfarclas 25 we capped off the tasting with our new Glenfarclas 25 year old bottled exclusively for our shop!
#7 – Glenfarclas 25 Cask Strength KWM / 52% ABV / $285
This is a special bottling we asked Glenfarclas to create for us to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Kensington Wine Market which is coming in 2017.
This one off bottling is a batch of the 25 year old bottled at a higher strength of 52% ABV.
We are getting about 300 bottles to star and already more than 20% are sold.
After we had tasted through the lineup as a group we took a vote to see what everybody’s two favorite Glenfarclas’ malts of the night where There were some votes for the 15yr and the 21yr and 25yr of course tied.
That being said – nothing came close to our own Glenfarclas 25yr at 52% ABV. Every single person put it in their personal top two.
The entire Glenfarclas lineup is excellent but it is not surprising how much love the high strength version of the 25yr received. The increased alcohol content makes it so that the aromas and flavours found in this bottle are more concentrated and more pronounced. Being 9 percent higher in ABV compared to the rest of the bottles – not counting the 46%ABV 15yr – definitely helps put this one in high regard.
Also – since it only costs twenty bucks more than the regular 25yr it is a bit of a steal!
Kensington Wine Market: