Glenfarclas 25 (43%, OB 2016)

Ah, Glenfarclas… The last bastion of sanity when it comes to whisky prices. If you happen to read this in the future when the Glenfarclas 25 costs more than your mortgage, it’s worth noting that this is still (sometimes) available for just under £100, when its similarly aged competitors are more than twice as much. Regardless of the prices, I’ve always been a big fan of Glenfarclas – the 12 and 15 year-olds are very solid daily sippers, the 30 year-old was a great 30th birthday present, and the Family Casks from 1968 and 1979 were two of the most spectacular whiskies I’ve ever tasted (sadly before I started taking notes).

Nose: Jam, stewed dark fruit and an interesting black olive note. The wood is very present too – not so much in terms of spices but more with that old furniture note that is often present in older whiskies. Herbal tea.

Palate: It’s more spicy here, with some cardamom and nutmeg framing the dominant sherry notes of dark fruit, chestnuts and some honey. The strength doesn’t feel low at all – it has good body. It’s not particularly sweet sherry – there’s spice, raisins, all sorts of dark fruit but never an impression that it’s a sherry bomb.

Finish: Medium, slightly bitter and tannic.

Comments: This is a subtle whisky – its quality creeps up on you instead of immediately grabbing you. There have been times I’ve had this without being blown away, but it’s never failed to impress in a head-to-head with other similar drams. I’ve sometimes seen complaints that it should’ve been bottled at a higher strength, but I don’t think the 43% leaves anything to be desired in terms of texture and mouthfeel.

Score: 88/100

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