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Monday, May 1, 2017

Speyside (Glenfarclas?) 10 year old 2004 Exclusive Malts, Port cask finish

I was going to do a whole week of port cask whiskies, but there's been a wee change of plans. Though today's whisky is porty, the full week of port cask goodness has been delayed until next week.

This single malt's spirit was distilled by a Speyside distillery that elected to prevent this independent bottler from using its name. There's a certain family-owned Speyside distillery has a habit of doing this, especially when indie bottlers release their single malt not aged in sherry casks. While I can't guarantee this whisky was distilled by Glenfarclas, I will say that's my guess is it's Glenfarclas. If so, it was a cool idea for David Stirk's The Creative Whisky Company to give folks a chance to try it port cask-style.

Distillery: Glenfarclas?
Region: Speyside
Independent Bottler: The Creative Whisky Co.
Series: Exclusive Malts
Age: 10 years old (May 2004 - August 2004)
Maturation: port cask
Limited bottling: 296
Alcohol by Volume: 57.7%
Chillfiltered? No
Colored? No
(Thank you to Mr. Perkins for this sample!)

Its color is very dark and rosy. The nose is full of chocolate—rather than berry—port notes. It's a bit hot, sharp and young, but it's also full of barley notes that stand up to the wine. Earthy, candied, a little floral. Hints of cassis juice and nectarines. In the palate, it's the berry port notes that show up. It's hot and sweet. A little bit of good bitterness. Hints of menthol and tart citrus. Lots of port. Its warm finish is moderately sweet. Tart berries and citrus. An earthy bitterness.

WITH WATER (~46%abv)
The nose has completely changed gears. Kirsch, roses, mint leaves, cookie dough with toffee chips, brine and butter. The palate is very earthy, tart and sweet. There's some pencil lead and shavings. Salted butter. The berries are much quieter. But then they show up again in the finish. Sweet, grapey and buttery with a hint of earthiness.

The vibrant nose is the star here. In fact, it's gorgeous when reduced to 46%abv. The port cask overwhelms the palate, when neat. The palate gets quirkier and rougher when water is added, which was an improvement in my opinion. If you like port cask whiskies, you probably won't have too much problem with this one. Other than the price, perhaps.

Availability - It's still around, a dozen or so US retailers
Pricing - $95-$105
Rating - 84 (with water only)