Glenfarclas is an A-list distillery with B-list prices. Or at least that’s the case for their core range and a few other small batch releases, such as this Limited Edition Glenfarclas 15 Years bottled for the Netherlands. The Family Casks and other official single casks are sometimes shockingly expensive in comparison. Yes, they’re usually of a higher quality too, but don’t compare in terms of value. Where else can you buy a well-aged, high strength, sherry-matured single malt for 65-ish euro?
One of the great family-run distilleries in Scotland, Glenfarclas has been closed to the public ever since COVID-19 took the world by storm. They’ve been quietly chugging along and producing whisky, but haven’t welcomed visitors in almost a year now. That’s probably for the best and personally I wouldn’t want to fly anywhere now anyway. Then again, I also can’t wait to return to Scotland and make the drive along the A95 past Craigellachie and through Aberlour, wave at GlenAllachie and Benrinnes, then take a left onto the Glenfarclas premises. That’s a world I’d love to return to someday. But when?
For now I’ll begrudgingly settle for a nip of their single malt. The Glenfarclas 15 Years Limited Edition for the Netherlands was launched in late 2020. It has matured in 50% refill and 50% first fill Oloroso sherry casks. A total of 1,800 bottles were released.
Glenfarclas 15 Years (52.1%, OB, 2020)
Nose: Somewhat grassy but mainly sweet stone fruits (peach and plums) and vibrant orange zest. Finally some rum raisins and figs, with just a touch of sandal wood. Pretty attractive.
Taste: Quite a bit of musty oak and pleasant wood spices—somewhat drying too. The mouthfeel is oily and rich with some nutmeg, leather, tobacco leaves and dates, as well just a touch of burnt toast, black tea and fennel. Even some coffee and mocha.
Finish: Some faint strawberries and black berries. Drying and medium to long.
Not unpleasant and in a way actually quite likeable, but you’d have to enjoy oak-y single malts. It’s not the virgin oak type of sawdust-y influence, but rather dustier and drier. Not usually something I encounter in whiskies as relatively young as this one.
Personally, I like this more than the rating suggests, but because of the overly oaky side, it wouldn’t feel right scoring it much higher. Still available in a number of places.
Photo: Best of Wines