Glenfarclas is one of the oldest distilleries in the Speyside region. Founder Robert Hay took out a license to make whisky on his farm in 1844 but it seems likely that the practice was going on long before then. When Hay passed on in 1865 the farm and distillery were bought by his neighbour John Grant for £512.
Today the distillery remains in the hands of the Grant family, making it one of the last independently owned distilleries in the country. Current owner George Grant is the sixth generation of his family to hold the position.
This family ownership has benefited the distilery in many ways. The people at Glenfarclas are experts at operating within their means and their whisky production policy is, put simply, to make what they can afford. During the 1980’s the whisky industry hit rock bottom and many distilleries were being mothballed and even closed permanently. Not so at Glenfarclas who carried on able producing spirit at a sensible and affordable rate. This has put them in a very strong position in todays market, with greater stocks of aged spirits than many of their competitors.
There is a respect for tradition at Glenfarclas but not just for the sake of it. Things are done the old way because that is how the best product is made. For example, the stills remain direct fired when most other distilleries use the more cost effective steam method of heating. Like their competitors, Glenfarclas made the switch to steam in 1981 but felt that the whisky was changed beyond all recognition so, out went steam and back came the fire pits and so it remains to this day.
The Glenfarclas spirit lends itself particularly well to maturation in ex-sherry casks and in fact, everything here is aged in European oak that previously contained Oloroso from Jerez.
The Scores: About the Scoring…
Smell: 17 / 20. A good example of a sherried Speyside, though not as heavily sherried as older expressions perhaps. Raisins, Stewed Fruits, Apple and Pear, a little Toffee, Chocolate and Winter Spice.
Taste: 17 / 20. Caramel and Honey with Raisins, Baked Apples, Cinnamon and Cloves and maybe the faintest hint of Fragrant, Aromatic Smoke?
Value for Money: 8 / 10. A solid, dependable dram available at a very reasonable price.
Overall: 42 / 50. All in all, a very pleasant dram that fairs well against similarly priced alternatives from the Speyside region.