Glenfarclas is one of the very first distilleries that I discovered in my whisky journey, and one of the first that I fell in love with. It was the perfect distillery to discover that funky, nutty, sherry flavour profile that I’ve come to enjoy so much.
That being said, Glenfarclas is a family owned distillery that’s very anchored in tradition. This means that you can know exactly what to expect from most of their core lineup. Lots of sherried goodness, but not much in terms of creative maturation or cask finishes. While their yearly Family Cask releases do offer some variety and are bottled at cask strength, they aren’t always affordable to be enjoyed as a daily dram.
This is why I was so excited when I noticed this release on our shelves at Wine and Beyond. As we are currently celebrating Wine and Beyond’s 10th anniversary this month, I thought the timing would be perfect to review this exclusive release! This Glenfarclas 12 Year Old is botted at 56.9%, non chill filtered and natural colour. Like its little brother in the core range, it was matured in sherry casks.
In the glass: Copper, somewhat thin. Based on looks, the sherry influence seems similar to that of the core releases.
Nose: A lot of alcohol on the nose, proceed with caution! With time, it dissipates and gives way to that classic nutty Glenfarclas nose with dried fruits in the background. Some water helps to bring out baking spices. Palate: This is definitely the Glenfarclas 12yr on steroids. I will warn that this whisky is quite sharp. I will never shy away from a high abv dram, but even with water the strong alcohol remains on the palate. Once you get past that, the same nutty oloroso goodness from the nose shines through. Lots of spice rounds out the flavour profile, with subtle notes of raisin.
Finish: Short, very dry, and more sharpness at the end. That being said, most of the alcohol shows up at the beginning, so the finish is smoother than I would have expected. More spice and fresh hazelnuts.
This whisky didn’t quite live up to my expectations. Perhaps my feelings of nostalgia around other classic Glenfarclas releases set the bar too high. While the age statement, abv, and price point are all very reasonable, I feel as though this whisky was a bit unbalanced. The predominant alcohol notes masked the funky sherry goodness that I was hoping to find.
I’m still very pleased to see Wine and Beyond getting an exclusive release from this distillery, and I hope to see another one in the future. Ryan Engen has done a tremendous job of bringing in a wide variety of quality single casks, and his track record in the last few years shows that it’s always worth making the gamble to grab a bottle! I always look forward to trying his selections, they are just one of many reasons to celebrate this 10 year milestone or Wine and Beyond. Cheers to the next 10 years, and many more amazing whiskies to come!
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