May 30, 2016
Glenfarclas 21 Years Old Review
Glenfarclas is an anomaly in terms of the whisky industry as it is one of a handful of family owned and operated distilleries left in Scotland. The Grant family (not to be confused with the Grant family of Dufftown, who are the owners of William Grant & Sons) have been running the distillery uninterrupted for more than 150 years and their commitment to producing exceptional whisky remains unchanged to this very day.
The distillery itself was established in 1836 and while it is located in the Speyside region, the whisky itself is made in the Highland style (a decision which was taken early on as Highland and Highland style whiskies were revered by blenders and fetched a high price).
Glenfarclas has weathered many a storm over the last 150 years, including the infamous Pattison crash of 1900, two World Wars, the great whisky loch of the 1980s and a succession of unsolicited takeover offers. It is this resilience and the commitment to being fiercely independent in the face of a multitude of faceless corporate takeovers which makes Glenfarclas stand out from the pack.
The distillery is famed for producing intensely rich and sherried whiskies and even to this day, approximately half of the annual production of 3.3 million litres is destined to be sold to blen ders and can be found in many famous blends belonging to some of the larger players within the whisky industry.
Glenfarclas has always been a forward-looking distillery and the Grant family have been known to lay down more casks of maturing whisky than the projected demand. However in recent years, demand has increased significantly and the distillery is now finding that production is only barely keeping up with the demand for their whisky.
While this may seem like a good problem to have, it may have wider implications for the distillery in the long term as it would either force them to ramp up production, or limit the number of bottles produced per year in order to keep the supply of whisky (and more crucially, the age statements attached to them) consistent.
The focus of today's review is the Glenfarclas 21 Years Old, which forms a part of the distillery's extensive core range and is bottled at a standard alcohol strength of 43%.
Glenfarclas 21 Years Old (43% abv)
Colour: Deep gold
Nose: Initial entry presents a veritable fruit basket of apricots, raisins, maraschino cherries and oranges, coupled with the sweet sherry that one would normally associated with a Glenfarclas. Oak, fresh cinnamon, allspice and white pepper make an appearance on the palate after some time and there is also a note which is reminiscent of berry compote. Slightly grassy at the very end.
Palate: Sweet, rich and fruity, with the fruit basket from the nose transferring on to the palate. Wood spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg also make an appearance and the sherry is rather light. Feinty and slightly grassy notes emerge after some time and intermingle with the spices, which become more pronounced.
Finish: Long and oaky on the finish, with berry compote, sherry and the wood spices particularly dominant. The spiciness does fade away relatively quickly though, leaving the sweetness and oak to linger.
Balance: Quite a well-balanced dram which is dangerously drinkable and truly representative of the house style of Glenfarclas. An immensely enjoyable dram with an oily and yet slightly drying mouthfeel.
The Glenfarclas 21 Years Old can be purchased at The Single Cask by the bottle or by the dram and the prices for either can be found on our extensive menu in bar.
Written By Brendan Pillai for The Single Cask
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