Glenfarclas distillery was ‘officially’ founded in 1844, when a man named Robert Hay purchased a license to distill on his family farm in Ballindaloch. It seems highly likely however, that the art of distillation was being practiced on the site long before any license application was made.
When Hay passed away in 1865, his farm and distillery were acquired by his closest neighbour, a man named John Grant. The entire purchase came to £512, although it seems Grant was more interested in the lands farming potential as opposed to its distillery yet today, more than 150 years later, Glenfarclas distillery remains under the ownership of his descendants. Current chairman John L.S. Grant and his son George are the fifth and sixth generations of the family to be involved in the business.
This consistency of ownership has no doubt benefited the distillery in many ways. The Grant Family have rather become experts at operating within their means, insisting upon only producing that which they can afford. This wiley approach meant that the distillery could remain in operation throughout the industry downturn of the 1980’s. As distilleries all over the country were mothballed or closed for good, the Grants carried on and by the time the market picked up again, the Glenfarclas warehouses were full of aged whisky stocks that few could match.
The people at Glenfarclas take tradition seriously but nothing is done without a good reason. The distillery is one of the few (possibly only?) in Scotland still to direct fire their stills. Like many other sites, they converted to steam in the early 80’s but a change in the character of the spirit was noticed and out went the steam, back went the fire pits.
The Glenfarclas spirit lends itself particularly well to maturation in ex-sherry casks, with the vast majority aged in European oak which previously contained Oloroso sherry from Jerez in Spain.
Smell: A good example of a sherried Speyside (though perhaps not as heavily sherried as older expressions). Raisins, Stewed Fruits, Apple and Pear, a little Toffee, Chocolate and Winter Spices.
Taste: Caramel and Honey with Raisins, Baked Apples, Cinnamon and Cloves and maybe the faintest hint of a Fragrant, Aromatic Smoke?
Value for Money: A solid, dependable dram, available at a very reasonable price.
Score: 42 / 50. About the scores…
An affordable and very richly flavoured dram. Shows well when compared to similarly priced Speyside competitors.