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Quick Dram : Glenfarclas 1989 vintage

8 June 2010 1,401 views Written by: Gal Granov
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Photo by the WhiskyEmporium

Glenfarclas is a well known distillery which is located in the Speyside whisky region near the town of Ballindalloch. Glenfarclas (meaning : Valley of the green grass) is family owned by the  J&G Grant family, and as such is the 2nd oldest family owned distillery in scotland (owned by then since 1865, and second only to SpringBank in terms of ownership).

Glenfarclas has the biggest set of stills (8 of them) in the Speyside district, and is renowned for their excellent sherry casks which are used for maturing the spirit.

Glenfarclas offers a wide core range : starting with the 10,12,15 year old and the 105 which is a Cask Strengh 10 year old (which is a favorite of mine) , then the older 21,25,30 year old and recently released a 40 year malt (which is excellent – and will be reviewed later this month) . In addition to the core range, Glenfarclas bottles a series of “Family Casks” which are essetialy a single cask bottling of vintages ranging from 1952 to 1994 which are rather expensive, but of outstanding quality.

If you like a good sherry dram, odds are you’ll love most of the GF lineup, and in my opinion most of their core range bottlings offer a great price-quality ratio. It’s really hard to find a bad bottling by GF.

I got a very small sample of this and was intrigued to see how the ‘Farclas nectar has change through time as most expressions I’ve sampled are from recent years and not from the 1980′s (times when i was a wee boy).  So, let’s start with the dramming drill:

Glenfarclas, Vintage 1989, distilled Oct. 1989, bottled Aug. 2002, 43% ABV ( bottle No. 1174 of 1800)

Color: Deep golden brown

Nose: On first whiff, I’m getting some balsamic vinegar which is not uncommon in heavily sherried malts such as the Glenfarclas. When the Vinegar notes are too strong for me, a few minutes of “breathing” in the glass will soften those tones and we’re back in business. Now that the vinegar is almost gone, the fruit notes (Raisins, Sultanas) are evident, as to be expected of the sherry maturation. Mocha and dark chocolate come back from behind the fruit. Lovely nose. Sherry at its best. At the bottom of all that touches of leather.

Palate: The dried fruit mingle well with Cocoa and espresso notes. A drying sensation fills the mouth, then pepper comes in and plays a lovely game with the tongue.

Finish: The finish is long, ending on the dark chocolate , double espresso and raisins dipped in liquor. Can’t ask for more: Delightful.

Overall: Another great sherry expression from Glenfarclas. The nose at the start did put me a bit off (but that does happen a lot when sherry is concerned). The palate here is more intense towards the bitter coffee and dark chocolate notes, than the 15 year old expression I have. All in all, very good. Glenfarclas know their work well, and turn out solid sherry drams every time.

I would think of this as a lovely after dinner dram, or to be consumed with big flavor goat cheeses on the side, to accompany a cheese buffet. It’s getting harder for me to drink those big sherry drams as the summer is getting closer and closer. Air conditioning is a must, as drinking this at 28 deg. Is really quite aweful.

Interesting to see how this expression compares to the recent 12 year expression. i do have a wee sample of the 12 in the pipe, and hopefully i will get to review it shortly, with the 40 year old , and 105 and the list goes on and on.

Isn’t Whisky Grand?

Many thanks to K who was kind enough to send me this nice wee sample.

Slainte! / Lechaiym!

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