When given the opportunity, I like to mix in some of the standards with all the single cask releases and limited editions I review. That’s why I’ve recently reviewed the Auchentoshan 12 Years and Benromach 10 Years. And now it’s time to add the Glenfarclas 12 Years to that list.
One of those single malt brands that is pretty conservative, Glenfarclas kind of fits the mould of what most whisky geeks say they want. It’s family-run, the stills are heated with direct fire, and there are no “innovative” finishes in an array of cask types. Just proper, no-frills Speyside single malt. Oh, and lots of age statements.
Glenfarclas is known for its sherry maturation, but I wouldn’t soon classify the Glenfarclas 12 Years as a typical sherry-matured single malt. Or at least, it’s probably not what most people think of. Generally, I suppose the association is with rich sherry bombs, more cask-led than spirit-forward.
But that’s generally not Glenfarclas. Or at least their core range isn’t. You will find sherry-matured beasts in the distillery’s Family Cask series, but their standard age-stated range is generally more subtle. More Glenfarclas, I would say. They don’t shy away from using refill casks, leaving room for the weighty distillate.
Glenfarclas 12 Years (43%, OB, 2022)
Nose: Warm and inviting with notes of cinnamon-sprinkled apples, oranges, apricots and some vegetal notes, as well some soft touches of marshmallows. Finally a whisper of eucalyptus, and just a touch of soy sauce. Taste: Mouthfeel is somewhat silky, but lacks richness. Quite spicy at first, almost hot. Vanilla, but touches of ginger, pepper and cloves too. Faint notes of burnt caramel. And a hint of crushed mint too. Finally, quite herbacious. Finish: Short to medium. Leafy, slightly dry, and with soft notes of oranges.
The Glenfarclas 12 Years qualifies as average whisky. Decent, but there's nothing that really wows me. The oak is rather prominent. Some dry and spicy notes that came somewhat unexpected.