George Grant (from the long line of Georges and a John) flew in from Scotland for this one. An absolutely brilliant speaker, George held an audience like a good comedian. His real adeptness was noticeable in how much information he managed to sprinkle throughout a presentation that made you feel you were simply sharing drinks with an old friend. While presenting several bottles from the Glenfarclas line, he regaled the ~100 strong crowd with humorous anecdotes and historical tidbits. We were never less than fully engaged.
One tale in particular, about a double-booking which resulted in a ‘Three’s Company”-esque menage a trois snafu between George and two simultaneous tastings had us in stitches. Another regarding a peat fire was nearly as entertaining.
Oh yeah…and it helps too when the product you represent is exceptional.
The whiskies themselves? While I didn’t take detailed tasting notes, here’s what I can share (and vaguely remember):
Glenfarclas 10 y.o. – Smart and pleasant. A little lacking in character when stacked up against all that followed but not bad. No real finish to speak of.
Glenfarclas 15 y.o. – A little sweeter. A lot bigger. Great whisky. Lacking the youthful nip of the 10 y.o. Very nice and highly recommended.
Glenfarclas 21 y.o. – Much bigger. Smooth, syrupy. Full of fruity notes and honey. Nice long development.
Glenfarclas 25 y.o. – Similar to the 21 y.o. but with a loooooooonger finish. Nice mouthfeel. Mature and deep without being pulled down by the oak that can often creep at this age. Fantastic.
Glenfarclas 105 – Cask strength. Ahhhhhh…this is how whisky should be bottled. Warming. Complex. Rich. Delicious. (See review here: http://www.allthingswhisky.com/?page_id=21)
Glenfarclas Family Cask – Richest and best of the bunch. Not sure which year this was in their Family Cask Series, but dear gawd, was this good. Great development into a nice long finish.
It was truly unfortunate that the fellow who was to sit next to us never showed. So…in not wanting to insult our host, Mr. Grant…we took it upon ourselves to ensure his whisky did not go to waste.
We are no strangers to Willow Park’s adroitness when it comes to bringing in the best to present their best. This night was no exception.
Final note…Instead of bogging this post down with details on the distillery’s history and practices, I am going try my best to nail down George Grant for an interview on ATW. I’m sure he could put into words much better than I all matters of the Glenfarclas way.