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Friday, October 23, 2020

Glenfarclas 1989 Family Cask for Astor Wines

While it seems like there are over a thousand US liquor stores that get their own exclusive bourbon casks, there are a less than a dozen shops that are still receiving supplies of exclusive single malt scotch casks. Astor Wines in NYC is one of those lucky stores. They got their mitts one of the so-called Family Casks, Glenfarclas's ultra-premium priced official honey casks. 

I don't think I would have ever reviewed one of these famed Family Casks had MAO not sent me a sample of this bourbon cask GF FC, sold exclusively through Astor Wines six years ago.

Distillery: Glenfarclas
Ownership: J&G Grant
Region: Speyside (Central)
Age: around 24 years (1989 - 20 November 2013)
Maturation: bourbon cask
Cask #: 7299
Outturn: 236 bottles
Exclusive to: Astor Wines
Alcohol by Volume: 57.4%
Chillfiltered? No
Colored? No
(Thank you to My Annoying Opinions for the sample!)

Wow, bourbony. There's butter, caramel, almond extract and vanilla extract on the nose, with vanilla porter and orange peels in the background. The palate starts off like a corny wheated bourbon, then takes a quirky turn with notes of band-aids and mesquite. One also finds milky chocolate, crystalized ginger and lemons scattered about. It finishes with vanilla, sugar, lemons and heat.

DILUTED TO ~46%abv, or 1½ tsp of water per 30mL whisky
The nose reads similarly, though it tilts more towards caramel candy and almond extract. Some new minor fabric and burlap notes, as well as a whiff of wood smoke. The palate becomes very sweet. Lots of vanilla. More tannins. Slightly mossy. The finish is similar to the palate, but with hints of oranges and wood smoke.

Son, I am disappoint. While it's not a mess like last month's Bourbon Nevis, this whisky is all American Oak all the time. And while there is very little single malt left in the mix, the oak never dives into bitter realms. It also smells like liquid candy. Adding water sends the palate to tooth-rotting territory as well. Again, this isn't a whiskyfail, but the baby Faultline Casks won the battle by a good measure.

There were two good-to-very-good Glenfarclases this week and two relative disappointments. This doesn't move my Glenfarclas meter because these results could happen to nearly any distillery. Though I don't think I've ever been WOWed by something from these folks, next time I review Glenfarclases (in 2021?) the whiskies themselves will be much much older. So, someday...?

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - ???
Rating - 81