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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Single Malt Report: Glenfarclas 105

Distillery: Glenfarclas
Age: 8-10 years
Maturation: Sherry casks
Region: Highland (Speyside)
Alcohol by Volume: 60%

Glenfarclas, "valley of the green grass" translated, is the last of the family-owned distilleries (courtesy of the Grants, since 1865).  They're operators operators of the largest Speyside distillery stills, about a mile from the Spey River.  They are known for natural-colored big, juicy single malts.

I had the pleasure of drinking Glenfarclas 105.  Positively soaked in sherriness and weighing in at 60% alcohol, it immediately reveals why it's known in some circles as the The Sherry Bomb.

To provide some perspective, I experienced this immediately after the Bowmore tasting (posted here last week).  This was an incredible shift in the whisky spectrum.  From a bunch of peat-smoky Islays to......this.

First, I tried it neat, just for kicks.  Some cask strength whiskies can numb one's cheeks, while others have flavors that fight to the surface. 105 sits in the latter category.  BIG sherry nose.  More sherry and cream and oranges in the palate.  Creamy soft texture.  It starts off mellow in the mouth then gets incredibly hot at the finish.

Then, I added some water to see what would happen to the heat and the sherry.  Once the water drips hit, the whisky clouded quickly which meant that it was (happily) not chillfiltered.  Before the drink hit my lips, the sweets availed themselves.  Mmm, sugar and caramel scents, but softly, tricking me into thinking that it had mellowed.  It had not mellowed.  Still spicy and sweet, ripe plums and jam.  And then the finish -- my tastebuds still remember it -- a cherry lollipop.

The youth, the sherry maturation, and the high ABV make this a singular experience.  It's clearly a dessert dram.  Probably would be stellar with some fresh-baked apple pie. [Guess who just finished his Yom Kippur fasting?]  Though, I do not recommend going from an Islay directly to this one as it might come across as too sweet.  It's also not for all palates or all occasions.  And it's not inexpensive.

Pricing - Good at $85-95
Rating - 90

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