Glenfarclas 15 year old

15 years old, 46% ABV, ex-Oloroso & Fino Spanish Oak casks, Highlands, Scotland 

The Whisky Exchange in London have recently voted the Glenfarclas 15 their whisky of the year, so I thought I’d explore my experience with this sherry bomb.

Glenfarclas 15

The presentation is pretty straightforward and classic. The burgundy, cream and red colours are accented by some copper-foil on the label and tin. It’s a pretty rich and regal colour palette, but then so too is the whisky, so it’s rather fitting!

Glenfarclas tin

Nice copper coloured tin closures with the intertwined J&G Grant logo, which is also repeated on the back label.

Glenfarclas label

I really like the simplicity of this line drawing of the distillery.

These notes were after the bottle had been opened for a good ten months or so, sitting at about half full.

Nose

Rich raisin notes with a hint of sourness – almost reminds me of tarty grapes or even kiwi fruit. Also had some cinnamon spice notes mixed in with the spiciness from the 46% alcohol content. I didn’t find the nose overly sweet, but there was a slight toffee/vanilla/oak note in there somewhere and a hint of wood smoke.

A very rich nose on this one after seven months and if I didn’t know what it was, I would have guessed it was older than 15 years.

Palate

Initially fairly oily before it gives way to rich fruit sweetness. I didn’t find it sweet in sugary sense of the word, but more like a natural stewed fruit kind of sweetness, with hints of charcoal. This is followed by some cinnamon/oak spice notes that linger in a tongue tingling kind of way.

Finish

The spice tingle continues with waves of long-lasting warmth down to the top of your chest, leaving you with a buttery/creamy mouth. After a good few minutes I also got some faint oaky bitterness, almost like a bitter almond note and some really faint residual wood smoke.

Comments

After trying a sherry oak Macallan and falling in love with it, I immediately went out in search of other heavily sherried whiskies. One popped up time and time again on various forums and that was the Glenfarclas 15year old. Without hesitation I tracked down a bottle and bought it.

At the time, I just thought ‘well Macallan is heavily sherried and the interwebz tells me that Glenfarclas is heavily sherried, so they must be the same! Awesome.’

When I got around to opening the Glenfarclas, I almost felt let down. ‘Where’s all that toffee sherry sweetness!?’ I tried to get into it a few more times over the coming weeks, but ultimately stashed in the back of the cabinet and left it for a good six months. In that time, the bottle really opened up – but more than that – so too did my understanding of sherried whiskies and whisky in general.

They were a similar age, both ex-sherry cask and both from a similar region in Scotland. But in a way, that’s where the similarities ended for me. Where the Macallan was lighter, toffee sweet and smooth, the Glenfarclas was big, rich and more complex, with hearty fruit and oak notes and a hint of warming spice.

I still love the Macallan, but I also love this, for very different reasons. One of those reasons being that the Glenfarclas was one of the first whiskies to really open my eyes to the vastly different flavour profiles out there and complexity that can be found in a whisky. This is a go-to winter whisky for me and now that my bottle is empty, I can definitely see it be replaced by another ‘farclas before too long.

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