Friday, August 24, 2007

Malt Mission 2007 #145

Glenfarclas 30yo
Speyside Single Malt Whisky
43% abv

This beauty has been around for a while and remains the oldest standard bottling in the Glenfarclas range. It was the overall trophy winner at the 1996 International Spirits Challenge, won Gold in 2005, and is one of the most respected distilleries in Scotland.

In 1912, a rival distiller is said to have written the Grants, "Of all the whiskies, malt is king, and of all the kings, Glenfarclas reigns supreme." Michael Jackson has called the distillery "top flight among Speysiders" and writes, "Experienced tasters usually place them in the top three [...] from this most distinguished district [...] They are excellent company at any time, and especially after dinner." In 2006, Whisky Magazine awarded Glenfarclas "Distiller of the Year".

One of the great assets Glenfarclas has is the fact that it remains family owned and run. "Being private doesn't affect the way we make whisky, but it does affect the way we run the business. We're not at the beck and call of money people in London, which means we can work and plan 24 years ahead, not 24 hours," says John Grant. Their endurance through 150 years of ups and downs is a testament to their ingenuity and long-term vision.

R.J.S. McDowall wrote in 1967, "The whisky is a fine full-flavoured malt, so popular with blenders, indeed, that most of it is sold before it is made." Things are certainly different today as Glenfarclas are VERY careful of where their casks end up and as far as I know, Glenfarclas can only be found in Glen Dowan and Isle of Skye blended whiskies.

It has been a great ride tasting my way through a part of the Glenfarclas range this week. Still haven't had the 21 (probably my favorite in the core range) for the mission but it was a tasty week nonetheless. All Glenfarclas tasted so far can be found HERE. Got a huge litre of the Glenfarclas 105 on my shelf (VERY well priced at duty free in Norway) that will keep me quite happy now that these drops are all gone. Big thanks to George Grant and Robert Ransom for being so friendly and sending me info, emails, and nectar.


Butterscotch, cherries, rum and raisin. A whisky you can smell from a metre away. Big and dense but completely welcoming. Toasty and slightly smoky with some concentrated orange syrup, too.

Big, wet kiss of sherry, spicy oak and spoonfuls of melted chocolate. It has been called 'christmas cake in a glass' but I hate christmas cake, so I would instead suggest brandy and/or cognac, molasses, chocolate brownies, almond extract, and a whole load of sumptuous oak. After such a big, bold flavour, the finish seems short, but at a piano volume chocolate, red grapes, and oak can be heard singing for minutes.


Extremely sexy, indulgent, and well balanced. The sherry is huge, but does not dominate or kill the malt. The sherry is perhaps the key of the piece, but the melody is surely played by other instruments. And for the price (not including that in Totalitario)!? Find me another 30yo proprietary bottling from a prestigious distillery for around £100! Amazing.

It is crazy to think of thanking your Grandfather for a whisky, but in this case, the Grant's have to appreciate the work of their fathers and fathers' fathers. Kind of makes me feel that people shouldn't be allowed to drink whisky older than themselves because they simply won't have the perspective to appreciate it. Does a 21 year old really understand what 30 years feels like? I do still find it such a romantic feature of scotch malt whisky that it can condense time in a glass, bringing decades, and in the Grants' case, generations of family together. Gotta respect that.

Malt Mission #141
Malt Mission #142
Malt Mission #143
Malt Mission #144

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