Glenfarclas 1997 19 Years Old SMWS 1.203
You all know Glenfarclas, and you all probably also know off the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. Well, the two have quite the history together, as the first ever cask bottled by the Society came from Glenfarclas distillery. Over 200 casks later, and we arrive at SMWS-release 1.203, which has kind of a quirk to it.
Usually you leave a 19 year old Glenfarclas the hell alone. It should be good enough by then, right? Not this one, apparently. After it had spent almost two decades in an ex-bourbon cask, the contents where then transferred to a virgin oak cask. That’s almost never a good sign.
Glenfarclas 1997 19 Years Old (53,4%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, C#1.203)
Nose: Quite a bit of oak to start off, accompanied by a distinct aroma of nuts. There’s a certain sweetness with hints of honey, brown sugar and raisins, as well as some ripe fruits, white chocolate, cumin and cheese sweat. A tad unusual.
Taste: Quite fruity (citrus mainly), but there’s lots of spices here too, and they take over the palate. That virgin oak certainly gives it a kick. Ginger, pepper, nutmeg, cumin. Quite bitter with a good amount of tannins.
Finish: The spices linger for a while. Drying.
I’m not a fan of the finish here. I can’t imagine it has improved the spirit. Before it, this was probably a fairly naked, ex-bourbon Glenfarclas, which sounds alright to me. Although I’ll probably never know how bad this whisky actually was in need of finishing.
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.