Glenfarclas XXL Christmas tasting


We held our first Christmas tasting on 23rd December (yesterday, at the time of writing this). For this momentous occasion, we chose to sample no less than 6 Glenfarclas releases:

  • 10 year old
  • 15 year old
  • 21 year old
  • 25 year old
  • 105
  • 11 year old, bottled for Southport Whisky Club

Glenfarclas Single Whisky has been distilled on Speyside for six generations by one family – the Grants. The Glenfarclas Distillery was established in 1836, on the Recherlich Farm at Ballindalloch. In 1865, purchased by John Grant for £511.19s.0d.
The Glenfarclas whisky distillery draws its water from pure springs on the Ben Rinnes mountain range. Their single malt whiskies are matured almost solely in sherry butts.

Glenfarclas 10 Year old 40% ABV

Appearance: Light honey gold, thin jagged legs, not particularly viscous

Nose: Grapes, summer honey and a touch vegetal. There is a citrusy freshness, it has an aroma similar to the Lemon Refresher bars you can get. Lemon thyme is the vegetal aroma I was getting. I like the nose on this. After a time, I get a slight cheese hint.

Palate: The palate, for me, is far less sweet than the nose would have you believe. It’s a tad lacking in depth for me, there’s not much there really, yet… It’s got a fairly evident copper tinge to it, there’s spice there too, maybe black pepper? A slight fizz with this one as well.
It’s quite average. It develops in the glass, but not in any way that would attract me to buy a bottle.

Finish: The finish for me is short to medium, mostly spicy and a tad dry.

Overall: Not for me. The nose was quite nice, but the palate didn’t match and there was nothing particularly going on.

Glenfarclas 15 Year old 46% ABV

Appearance: Very slightly darker in colour, and a tad more vibrant, like the contrast has been turned up on the 10. No legs on this as such instead coats the glass as a layer.

Nose: Richer and more complex than the 10, good start. Dark fruits: plum and blackberry. Honey sweetness and oak. Much better nose than the 10 for me. BBQ meat now, and cereals. The berries get more and more prominent with time. I’m now getting quite a funky cheese smell on the nose. I like the funk.

Palate: I’m getting that mintiness on the palate, missed it on the nose. Much nicer on the palate than the 10 for me. More depth and complexity of flavours. Dark fruits, I think plum and fig, that mint and malty lemon-infused chocolate.
Sherry notes now, a slight peppery note and maybe celery salt?

Finish: The finish for me is, again, short to medium, but this time nice and rich, with a sweetness and depth I really like. Slightly peppery but that adds a nice balace, like pepper and strawberries.

Overall: Overall well worth the extra spend over the 10. Far more sherry influence and complexity. Just more whiskey for your money.

Glenfarclas 21 Year old 43% ABV

Appearance: Seems to be slightly lighter than the 15 oddly. Still a lovely golden sumer honey colour though, so not compaining!

Nose: Lots of banana and confectionary sweetness on the nose, also almond and marzipan. More funk from this one, mixed with upscaled sweetness (compared to the 15) and tropical fruits. Foam sweets (bananas, shrimps etc), mixed with sharper fruit gums or similar.

Palate:The mouthfeel on this one is far more oily and buttery. Lot’s of chocolate with some christmas spices (cinnamon and all spice berries). There’s a slight metallic twang there, but not enough to be an issue for me.
This is quite perfumed. There’s a floral quality to the nose and palate.

Finish: Chocolate, christmas spices and sweetness. Very nice, my favourite so far!

Overall: Overall the best of the whiskies tasted so far, should I expect that though?

Glenfarclas 25 Year old 43% ABV

Appearance: Back to the colour of the 15, it’s lovely and rich golden. Lovely legs, thick and oily.

Nose: Still getting lots of bananas, but they’re now covered in caramel, icing sugar and honey. It’s beautifully rich and luxurious. Very friendly as it has little ethanol and a nice sweetness, with touches of the topical and grassy aromas. I get a fair bit of oak over sherry, to be honest. I really like the nose.
A bit further from the glass and, on the nose, I get strawberry jam and sawmill dust.
It contains a lot of the qualities of those previously tasted but dialled up. Going on the nose alone, I’d buy this one over the others.

Palate: This is one of the few whiskies I’ve tried, where the palate matches the nose, in this case, that’s a very good thing! Tropical fruit, bananas, caramel and icing sugar sweetness. There’s a slight touch of black pepper there too, for balanace. Cheesecake biscuit base was also mentioned, which I agreed with.
It’s a touch drying on the palate, slightly more burn, but I like that in a whisky.

Finish: This matures in the glass beautifully. Finish for me is longer, jammy sweetness, oak and a touch of nuttiness, which I’ve not got before.

Overall: GF 25 for me is a winner, really lovely jammy and warming dram, lovely Christmas dram for sure!

Glenfarclas 105 60% ABV

Appearance: Almost rose gold, nice viscous legs.

Nose: The higher ABV is evident on the nose, I like that. Nice and sweet, slight smokiness for me? Sweetshop aromas, maybe sugared almonds. It’s a nice friendly nose. There’s plenty going on, but nothing offputting or unusual.
I get more spice in the empty glass.

Palate: Lovely oily mouthfeel. Rich fruity but with a nice punch form the ABV. This is a great whisky. I bought a bottle of this some time ago, after a Twitter poll on Sherry Cask whiskies, forgot how good it is!
Great depth, plenty of blackberries and plum, mixed with some chocolate and icing sugar, really good dram, really good.

Finish: The finish for me is full of jam and sugar. Like a smokey dessert in a glass.

Overall: Dangerously nice!

Glenfarclas 11 Year old Southport Whisky Club 48.4% ABV

Appearance: Light gold/straw, good oily legs (so to speak).

Nose: There’s a swimming pool smell to it, never noticed it before. WTF? This one smells like a higher ABV to me. Touch of smoke, a nice icing sugar sweetness and some spice too, nice balance.

Palate: This one gets me at the back of the throat, quite spicy. More herbal/vegetal than the nose suggests.

Finish: Medium, blackberry Jam, whiff of smoke, black pepper and Christmas spices.

Overall: I really like this one, it’s a great sipper and not bad for the money (about £50).

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