Glenfarclas – a vertical line-up

Family owned for 5 generations by the Grants of Glenfarclas… yes we’re going to dive into a vertical line-up by “probably Speysides Finest” Distillery!

This well-known Distillery was bought in 1865 by John Grant, along with the Recherlich farm. A place between the old existing farm of cattle breeder John Grant in Glenlivet, and the cattle market nearby Elgin. Since then, the Grants are running this family owned Distillery in the traditional Speyside way. 

They use direct fired stills, which isn’t that common anymore with all the high tech Distilleries out there, but we’re into the old craft anyway 👌🏼. They have three Wash Stills (29.600 L), and three Spirit Stills (25.000 L) at Glenfarclas. After the two times of distillation the spirit will be stored in Spanish ex-Oloroso Sherry Casks to mature in their traditional dunnage warehouses. It’s said that the “Glenfarclas” Grant family has one of the oldest stock of casks in their warehouses… We definitely need to pay a visit over there once 😉.

So, let’s explore this vertical line-up of the “Valley of the Green Grassland” Distillery: 

Glenfarclas 10 yo @ 40% ABV

@Whiskypeater
  • Nose: Quit licht on the nose, fruits like pear, some vanilla, light spices and apricots jam.
  • Palate: Drinks (too) easy, not much to it for my liking. Caramel, vanilla and woody.
  • Finish: Short finish with some vanilla notes.
Score: 75 / 100
@Dramtastic.86
  • Nose: Sweet red apples, vanilla, caramel and raisins. After a while it changes to cotton candy and apple syrup.
  • Palate: Soft and creamy with a bit more “dark / strong” flavors: raisins, red apples (less sweet), caramel and light spices. After some time more like gingerbread spices.
  • Finish: Short with caramel, vanilla and light spices.
Score: 80 / 100

Glenfarclas 12 yo @ 43% ABV

@Whiskypeater
  • Nose: A bit sharp on the nose, fresh citrus notes, sherry notes and some peach after a while.
  • Palate: Fresh, some sweetness and mint notes. After that oakiness and cinnamon.
  • Finish: Short, but tasty with some spices.
Score: 78 / 100
@Dramtastic.86
  • Nose: Same nose as the 10yo, but less ‘sharp’. Soft vanilla fudge and candy red apples.
  • Palate: A bit more spices, again apples, raisins and caramel.
  • Finish: A short to mid finish with more creamy and sweeter notes.
Score: 82 / 100

Glenfarclas 21yo @ 43% ABV

@Whiskypeater
  • Nose: Immediately you’ll notice the age difference. Well balanced on spice and fruit notes.
  • Palate: Sweet and fruity. A good oily moutfeel. Flavors like cinnamon, licorice root and papaya fruit.
  • Finish: A medium to long finish with spices and full sherry note flavors.
Score: 86 / 100
@Dramtastic.86
  • Nose: Sweet with red fruits (strawberry, red berries and raspberries). Creamy whip cream, vanilla and after a while marzipan. A nice balance and way softer then expected with sherry casks.
  • Palate: Creamy red fruits, slight spices (way more spices comparing to the nose). A nice balance to it, maybe to nice for my taste 😅. Some milk chocolate, vanilla, caramel. (for the Dutch people: hopjes achtig).
  • Finish: mid/long finish. A bit dryer with caramel and some white pepper on the end.
Score: 86 / 100

Glenfarclas 25yo @ 43% ABV

@Whiskypeater
  • Nose: This smells good and elegant! Nice and smooth tropical fruit notes.
  • Palate: Sultana, red fruits, clove and cinnamon. Really tasty stuff.
  • Finish: Long and packed with spices.
Score: 87 / 100
@Dramtastic.86
  • Nose: More full on the flavors, red fruits, chocolate, whip cream, marzipan and vanilla.
  • Palate: Again red fruits (but darker), sweet strawberries, raisins and even some tobacco.
  • Finish: Long with spices, Christmas cake, some leather. A bit more dry on the sherry cask influence.
Score: 87 / 100

Glenfarclas 15yo @ 52.1% ABV – Limited Edition for the Netherlands

@Whiskypeater
  • Nose: Ohh… this is tasty and interesting. Ripe apples, nuts, caramel and some wood notes.
  • Palate: Lots of spices, citrus, hazelnuts, dark chocolate and a whiff of sulphur (a good one).
  • Finish: Long and fruity.
Score: 86 / 100
@Dramtastic.86
  • Nose: More heavy on the sherry notes comparing to the 21 & 25 (probably due to the Cask Strength). Nice dark fruits, dark chocolate, spices like cinnamon, clove and some musty earthy notes.
  • Palate: Red fruit, peaches, sweet gummy bear sweets, caramel, nuts, spices, tobacco and leather notes.
  • Finish: Long with flavors like caramel, orange zest, spices and some leather.
Score: 87 / 100

Glenfarclas 105 Cask Strenght @ 60% ABV

@Whiskypeater
  • Nose: Fresh crispy apples, sherry notes, white pepper and a melange of nuts (like passing it on a market).
  • Palate: Dried raisins, typical sherry notes. Some dates and caramel.
  • Finish: Short and nutty.
Score: 81 / 100
@Dramtastic.86
  • Nose: Red apples, honey and peach.
  • Palate: Apple syrup, caramel, nuts, honey and raisins.
  • Finish: Mid finish with light spices and caramel.
Score: 83 / 100

Conclusion: 

This vertical line-up gives you a very good overview of the differences between the bottlings. We liked all of them in a way, especially when you’d take the price point of the bottlings into consideration. Glenfarclas is affordable (a 25yo will cost like €125,- in the Netherlands), widely available and accessible for everyone (the Aged range). 

But… if you are more into the full-on flavor profiles and a bit more punch you should consider releases like the Vintage range, or Family Cask range. We’ve tasted a Glenfarclas 2009 Masters Selection (Mr. van Wees) @ the 2018 Whiskybase Gathering for example, and that was delicious stuff! 

Luckily we’ve still got a Glenfarclas 1986 The Family Cask (release Spring 2017), 30yo refill Sherry Butt @ 52.8% ABV waiting for us… That will be for a very special moment 🥃🤩.

Slàinte 🥃 

Dutch Whisky Brothers

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