Monday, March 05, 2007

Malt Mission 2007 #46

Glenfarclas 105
Speyside Single Malt Whisky
60% abv


Welcome to week TEN of this malt mission. I cannot believe that what started as a New Years challenge to review a few whiskies for friends has gone on this long and been read by so many people. There have been just under 2000 unique visitors to the site over the past 4 weeks and good bunch of regular readers. Thanks for reading, commenting, contributing, etc., and I hope to keep it up for weeks to come.

This week will be a single cask, cask-strength themed week. Rather than starting the week with a blend, I will start with Glenfarclas 105 to really get things going.

Glenfarclas has been a family run distillery since 1865, but the distillery was actually built in 1836. The Grant family became tenants of the adjoining farm and bought the distillery as a rental property(!). John Smith, th efirst tenant of the distillery left four years later to found Cragganmore distillery and the Grant family took over the running of the distillery as they still do today. They are proudly independent and fiercely protective of their name, therefore highly limiting the non-proprietary single cask bottlings on the market and becoming legally pushy when a bottler so much as implies the cask's origin. The end result is that there are very few independent bottlings of Glenfarclas.

Neat things about the distillery are that Glenfarclas has the largest stills in Speyside, their insistence on the use of sherry casks and new oak before ex-bourbon, their huge warehouse space (room for 85, 000 casks, though currently holds about 60,000), the largest mash tun in the industry, and their stills are direct fired (by gas).

Glenfarclas is the pioneer of cask strength whiskies and released Glenfarclas 105 way back in 1968. See the 40th anniversary special release tasted at Malt Mission #331.


Sweet sherry, raisins, baked goods. White port, dessert wines, cocoa, honey and bran flakes.

(Sigh of satisfaction) Velvety in the mouth, texture like warm honey, or sucking chocolate milk syrup right out of the bottle. Strong spirit taste and although I find it balanced against rich flavours, I recognise that this stuff is not for everyone. Some tobacco and soft, rotting grapes. There is a curry element in the spices, meaty, with ginger and chilli. Chocolate. Maybe it is Mexican mole. Finish is slow, but the flavours get more and more unappealing to me. Develops from wood to the taste of cutlery to blood to a late aftertaste of fish skin. Encourages me to grab the glass, and it's back to perfect with each additional sip.


Scary how drinkable I find this in spite of its strength. Great value. Great satisfying strong whisky from a distillery that never disappoints. Some would prefer Aberlour Abunadh (which we will be having at a tasting we're hosting in Toronto at the end of the month) for the same price, but now that George Grant claims the 105 is now at least 10 years old, I cannot knock this monster.

Malt Mission #45
Malt Mission #47
Malt Mission #48
Malt Mission #49
Malt Mission #50

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Rene Looper said...

Hi Sam,

Wow!, what a great life you lead! I arrived on your site by getting a Google Alert when the word Speyside is mentioned in news articles, blogs etc. Love your blog. I live and work in Speyside and love whisky too. That's actually one of the reasons we moved to Scotland :) (I'm originally Dutch)
Let me know when you're planning to come to the area, would love to meet up. In the meantime, I'll keep an aye on your blog. Happy writing!
Kind regards, Rene, Male, 41

Matthew said...

I don't believe your review. Please send a bottle post haste so I may confirm tasting notes myself.

Anonymous said...

Deal. But what do I get in return?

Unknown said...

This is the finest whiskey I ever had!
Two years back at duty free shop New Delhi Airport, I found this whiskey and the manager strongly recomended it.
I could not taste it for a year, and when tasted found THE BEST WHISKEY, I ever had.
Since, I'm looking for this, and wrote to Glen Farclas Distellery too, but couldn't get it.
I had been to scotland in 2005, and if I had tasted it earlier would have bought some bottles on our four passports.
Tried to find in London during my last 3-visits, but were rarly available to nearby easily approachable stores.
Hope company will love to send me some bottles.
It's not available at Heathrow and at New Delhi too.

Dr. Whisky said...

Sanjay, I am sorry your whisky love has been eluding you. This should be widely available. Use the retailers links on the left sidebar of this page and you should have no trouble getting it delivered to your door, or visit one of the stores listed when next in London. Otherwise, use this brilliant tool from the 'Farclas website:
Good luck!

Robert C. said...

For me, the Glenfarclas 105 is a bit one-dimensional and bland. For roughly the same price, the Aberlour A'Bunadh knocks the 105 out of the park.