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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

"Probably Speyside's Finest Distillery" (Glenfarclas) 22 year old 1991 Old Malt Cask for Binny's

Somehow I've reviewed only one "Glenfarclas" that was not allowed to be called "Glenfarclas". As is usually the case, independent bottlers aren't given permission to use the Glenfarclas name on their Glenfarclas single casks, especially when they're ex-bourbon casks as that is not part of the Glenfarclas house style. But we can call it Glenfarclas, and I've called it Glenfarclas, so that's seven counts of the Glenfarclas (eight!) name in this paragraph. So there, Glenfarclas.

This Glenfarclas is a Hunter Laing's single cask released under their popular Old Malt Cask brand. The statement in its name, "Probably Speyside's Finest Distillery", is highly debatable, and I'm not sure why Laing felt the need to kiss their arse, unless it wins them more casks.

Distillery: Glenfarclas
Region: Speyside (Central)
Independent Bottler: Hunter Laing
Series: Old Malt Cask
Age: 22 years old (June 1991 - November 2013)
Maturation: refill hogshead
Cask #: 10008
Limited bottling: 258
Alcohol by Volume: 52.4%
Exclusively sold by: Binny's
Chillfiltered? No
Colored? No
(Sample saved from an OC Scotch Club event)

Its light gold color perhaps bespeaks of minimal oak, perhaps? The nose is big on barley, apples and honey, at first. Whipped cream and vanilla in the background. Later it's all apple cider, nutmeg and orange peel. The palate is quite malty at first, and a little phenolic and funky. Lemons and a hint of vanilla. Slight sweet. A bit prickly from ethyl heat. Gets a little drying after a while. The finish is sweeter and oakier. Salt and pepper. Some funky barrel notes in there.

Nothing changed when I dropped it to ~46%abv. But at ~40%abv, it went awry. Though the nose still had the apple cider and barley, more barrel action crept in. The palate went tart and tannic, with a hint of earth. The palate was tart and bitter and soapy. So DON'T add water.

When I tried this at the event two years ago, I was underwhelmed by this Glenfarclas. Yet my first 15 minutes with it here were very pleasant. I was ready to heap some serious praise on this thing. Then the finish couldn't match the rest. Next, the oak started showing in the palate. And adding water destroyed it. The nose is the best part throughout, by far.

I haven't seen any reviews of this Glenfarclas online, nor is it in Whiskybase. Binny's might still have it in stock, which means it's been on the shelf for three years. Definitely some popular stuff right here.

Availability - Binny's
Pricing - $119.99
Rating - 84 (neat only)