The below notes are for a mystery Glenfarclas 9-year-old that was sent to me as a sample. The only description was that it was a ‘family cask’. From tasting the sample I have concluded that it’s definitely cask strength, roughly 55-60% ABV.
Appearance: Cola brown with a ruby red hue. A semi-viscous film forms, when swirled, with a hairline tide mark, which quickly turns to beads and teardrops. Not so much defined legs, more ‘ripples’ of medium thickness running around the circumference of the glass.
Nose: Chocolate, oak, confectionary sugars, sponge cake and dried fruits.
The ABV is carried well, it’s evident but not overbearing.
After the initial few sniffs cherry appears in spades. There is also a damp forest floor and coffee element, adding another layer.
The overall vibe is quite Christmas-like. Rich and unctuous fruit cake with cream.
Palate: A lovely buttery mouthfeel, viscous and oily. High ABV is evident on the palate, I’d say definitely cask strength.
A big hit of spice tingles on the tongue and warms the chest: cinnamon, black pepper and clove.
Clotted cream and raspberry ripple ice cream follow, to offer a sweet balance.
There is a slight astringency and bitterness towards and into the finish.
Finish: Those creamy, spicy and dark fruit notes linger for a medium amount of time.
The astringency overlaps into the finish from the latter part of the palate but fades quickly.
Overall: A lovely dram, not amazing, but lovely and warming. It would make a great fireplace dram during the winter, but I’m not immediately looking for a bottle.
N.B. Feature image for illustration only and does not represent the actual bottle sampled.