This feels wrong. So wrong. Naked Glenfarclas from a refill hogshead. Unlike pretty much all of the distillery’s output, there is no sherry influence here (unless they built this hoggy from cut down staves of a disassembled butt, but I doubt that. Or…maybe this hoggy held sherry at one time? Also doubt it). Either way, seeing Glenfarclas this exposed feels sorta like walking in on someone in the shower. Perhaps I should also add that for an anorak such as I, it gives the same perverse sort of thrill.
Whisky geeks will most likely be all over a malt like this. It ticks all the right boxes for the purist. Big natural cask strength, no added coloring, no chill-filtration, bottled at a suitably mature age and well labeled for clarity. But most importantly, it’s a unique malt in that it offers up something different for all of us to natter about in our infinite geekery by breaking the distillery’s stereotype and showing us a very different iteration of a much loved theme.
To me, this is exactly the kind of release that makes whisky exciting and keeps it fresh. It is a 19 year old bottling from an outturn that yielded just 230 bottles. But pushing aside the inherent awesomeness of all of the meta associated with this one, let’s discuss the actual ins and outs of this particular expression. Its 55.7% abv delivers flavour by the spadeful, and instead of those exceptional leathery, dried fruit and Christmas cake notes so typical of Glenfarclas, here we’re treated to more ripe fruits and deeper spice notes.
I wish more folks out there, especially the really devout Glenfarclas fans, could have an opportunity to try this one, but unfortunately that’s the nature of not only the SMWS, but single cask bottlings in general. This one just happens to be even more exclusive than most single cask releases out there, as it is only available to SMWS members (or was, as I assume it is now long gone).
If you get an opportunity to try this one, do so. Highly recommended.
Nose: Earth. Candy and floral notes. Let’s call it Turkish Delight-ish. Orange jelly. Grape jelly. Stewed peaches and apples in baking spices. Canned pears. Pie crust. Very firm oak notes. Dry cinnamon sticks. Moist tobacco.
Palate: Very tangy arrival of fruits and jelly candies. Quite lush. Clean wood, but slightly bittering around the mid to back end. Allspice and candied ginger. Ever eaten flower petals in a salad? This latter note may help contribute to that bittering influence. Some orange zest and pith. More apple sauce. A touch of honeycomb. Very un-Glenfarclas.
Thoughts: Arguably the most apt name I’ve ever seen on an SMWS label. This one definitely exemplifies all three adjectives. Also…decent tasting notes on the bottle. I can’t say I disagree with much of it.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt