Last week have been quite an exciting one because I finally get to taste a few expressions of Glenfarclas side by side.The vertical tasting was done at a friend's place and he managed to collect these 4 expressions - 15yo, 25yo, 30yo and a 40yo. I did ask him what happened to the 17yo and the 20yo ones? He said he didn't bother looking for them! Anyways, 4 bottles to taste is already good enough for the evening.
Before we start the tasting, we had so light food at Bier, a German pub & bistro beside El Cerdo at Changkat Bukit Bintang. We need to line our stomach before filling ourselves with Glenfarclas.
I noticed one thing about these bottles. They have a very dark tint and it makes it difficult for the consumers to see the colour of the whisky. I don't know about you but I like clear whisky bottles where I can admire its hue right from the bottle itself. However, its 10yo and 12yo expressions both had a clear glass bottle.
The 1st step is to taste the whisky neat, in its pure form. I poured from each bottle into individual glasses. Take a sniff, nose the aroma and then have a sip. When moving on to the next glass, I took some water to cleanse my palate before tasting the next expression.
It's a very lively whisky, young and full bodied and long lasting finish. It has malty tones, gentle peat and also high abv of 46%. It's bottled at 46% simply because the family's grandfather preferred it at this strength. In his 2007 Whisky Bible, Jim Murray gave Glenfarclas 15 Years Old a score of 95/100, one of the highest scores he has awarded.
On the nose, I get the vanilla, citrus and musk bouquet. It has a sherry sweetness and nutty which gave it a robust and full-bodied texture. There's also some oak tannins, peat and chocolate to its finish. 43% ABV
This one tastes of cognac and brandy. There's sherry and fruits note. The finish is short and there's a slight burnt note at the end. I didn't really like the 30yo expression because of the short finish and its lacked of complexity. 43% ABV
On the nose, there's a leathery, honey comb bouquet. On the palate, there's orange zest, burnt brown sugar and chocolatey notes. It's smooth, balanced and has a dry finish. 46% ABV
On the 2nd round, I added a drop or two of water into each glass and taste them glass by glass again. The flavours changes and I found that the 15yo expression has improved by having a more balanced acidity. All the other expressions also spotted slight changes to their tastes.
On the 3rd round, I added a cube of ice into each glass and taste them all individually again. This time, the changes observed are more apparent. The 15yo has opened up to sweeter notes. The 25yo tasted much better with more robust flavours but the 30yo was disappointing. The ice somehow diluted its flavour and reduced it to a mild and lack of finish expression. The 40yo is still drinking very well with notes of dark cocoa beans.
Conclusion, I would prefer the 25yo than the 30yo as price is concerned. But if it's not, the 40yo is also worth acquiring. If you're tight on budget, the 15yo is also very pleasant for drinking minus the smoothness of an aged malt.
In addition to those bottles, I received 2 surprise tiny bottles of the Glenfarclas from the 1968 casks. When asked what are in these 2 tiny bottles, I told my friend that these are urine samples! Haha... they do look like urine samples from a clinic, don't they?
This is a friend who is a whisky collector who sent me those 2 bottles through a visiting friend in Singapore. Luc Timmermans is not only a respected Glenfarclas collector, he's also a whisky connoisseur too.
Glenfarclas 1968 / Bottled 2010
70cl / 49.7% OB for Thosop BVBA, Belgium
A special bottling of two single sherry casks (fino and oloroso) of 1968 selected for Luc (his birth year), who couldn't decide between them and made the sensible decision to vat them both together. I liked this bottling. There's nice layers of ripe tangerine, cinnamon and dried fruits such as raisins and dates. The colour is of dark gold. After sometime, the wood, leather and cigar notes surfaces and it has a very nice long and lingering fruity finish. The label on the bottle is also unusual as it looks like an old hand-written note.
Glenfarclas 1968/ Bottled 2009/
70cl / 51.2% OB for Lindores Whisky Society 5th Anniversary cask #699
A very special bottling of Glenfarclas 1968, bottled for Lindores Whisky Society 5th Anniversary by Luc Timmermans. Just 11 bottles of this were produced. It has a light golden hue compared to the earlier one which is of a darker gold. This one here has a very nice vanilla and fruity notes. There's a very slight peat but with distinctive woody and oaky flavours. It's a balanced whisky with complex flavours. The finish is smooth, lingering, with hints of spice and powerful.
I'm truly impressed by these 2 bottles and I prefer the Thosop bottling more than the one. It's always a pleasure to taste whiskies that are much older than me. Thanks to Luc for the wonderful samples from his favourite vintage and Emmanuel for bringing them back for me!
"There's peace in a Larranaga, there's calm in Henry Clay"
The phrase was written by Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) the famous English writer in his 1890 poem "The Betrothed". Por Larranage Petit Corona is one of my all-time-favourite smoke. Although it's surprisingly mild for a cigar with such nice brown wrapper, it makes a very pleasant smoke due to its velvety vanilla spiced notes. The burn is even and the draw is smooth. This makes a nice complement to the Glenfarclas 25yo.
Ok, what's on the drinking menu next?