Wednesday 21 December 2016

Tasted #336: Glenfarclas 2007 9yo for Whisky and Wisdom

Whisky fans can be an obsessive bunch (myself included). If we like a whisky enough, we might start to build a collection around it (like say, Heartwood), or even start to stockpile a single type of bottle (the many GlenDronach 15yo bottles I have stashed away would suggest I'm guilty of this too...)

It takes a special kind of whisky fan though to try a whisky, and say "Yep, I like that. I'll take a cask."
(Note: cask, not case)

That however is exactly what the Mr Andrew Derbidge of Sydney did recently, when presented with a sample of a 2007 First Fill ex-Sherry Glenfarclas (well, he took half the cask, but we're splitting hairs here - he still took 252 bottles!).

As Director / Cellarmaster of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society Australia, long-time whisky writer, more recent whisky blogger, Glenfarclas tragic and all-round nice bloke, "AD" is probably Sydney's most well-known whisky personality, so it's fair to say he knows his way around a dram. Having shared many a dram with AD over the years (and tried many of his SMWS picks), I knew he had an excellent palate, so had no hesitation buying this before sampling it.

...and I'm glad I did.

Glenfarclas 2007 "Whisky & Wisdom" (60.5% ABV, 9yo, Speyside, Scotland, $229AUD)
Colour: Dark mahogany copper (or put more simply - "correct").

Nose: Huge, rich Christmas cake and Brazil nuts. There are classic Oloroso sherry notes everywhere you look, but they're all incredibly "clean" - not a hint of sulphur, dustiness, or what have you. Glacé cherries, fresh cherries, and even some macerated blueberries.

Palate: Instantly, a massive, oily, warming (but not "hot") mouthfeel. This is every bit a Christmas (or winter) dram. There are walnuts, sherry-soaked raisins, Brazil nuts and loads of red berries. With a few drops of water, some humbugs and fresh laundry (a trait I often find on "clean" sherried whiskies - and this is one of the cleanest!)

Finish: Long, vibrant, warming. Red berries, tobacco and raisins. With some water, a little herbal.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 93/100. I'll be honest, whilst I've tried some excellent Glenfarclas releases (at least 8 I can recall over 30yo), it's a distillery whose core range, and younger whiskies I'm generally not hugely fond (give me a GlenDronach any day). This 'farclas however, is absolutely beautiful - showing an incredible amount of character, flavour and refinement for merely 9 years of age. Top pick, AD.

Sidenote: I've shared this whisky with a lot of people (which probably explains why my bottle is now empty) - whisky fans and novices alike, including a few people who are definitely not used to whiskies above 43% ABV (let alone 60%+). Everyone has loved it, and more than one person has asked where they can buy a bottle. It's not often you find a whisky that appeals to whisky geeks and novices alike, but this one seems to. 

The Whisky & Wisdom Glenfarclas is available for $229AUD from The Whisky Empire. Andrew's even offering a discount for the Christmas season (presumably because it makes a bloody good Christmas dram) - $25 off for Dram Full members. $204 for a whisky like this is, to be honest, a very good deal.


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