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Glenfarclas distillery dates from around 1790, though it was 1844 before a license to distill was granted to one David Hay. Upon his death, Hay’s property was sold to his neighbour, John Grant for just £512. Today, some six generations later, Glenfarclas remains under Grant ownership.
Such continuity of ownership has been of huge benefit to Glenfarclas and its single malt. During the industry downturn of the 1980’s, while rival distillers were winding down and mothballing distilleries, the Grants of Glenfarclas kept the stills running. When business picked up again, their warehouses were well stocked with a supply of aged malt that few could match.
In 1973, Glenfarclas became one of the first distilleries to create an on-site visitor centre. The design included a designated tasting room known as The Ship Room, with walls decked in wood panelling recovered from the RMS Empress of Australia, a ship famed for bringing British troops home from India, thereby ending two centuries of British rule.
The Glenfarclas malt is matured exclusively in ex-oloroso European oak casks, sourced from the Miguel Martin Cooperage in Jerez. The 105 expression, first released in 1968 (and perhaps the forerunner of the trend for cask strength bottlings), weighs in at 60% abv and is a very serious dram that can be bought for the very reasonable sum of £50.
Smell: Sherry, Caramel, Honey, Apple, Pear, Vanilla, Lemon, faintest hint of Smoke.
Taste: Big flavour. Sherry and Caramel, Brown Sugar, Cinnamon and Nutmeg.
Value for Money: An absolute bargain at £50 a bottle.
A real gem of a whisky from a distillery at the very top of their game. The 105 may be the original cask strength dram but it remains one of the best.
*If the whisky reviewed in this article has caught your eye, you can buy it from Master of Malt here. Please be aware that as an affiliate I can be paid a small commission on any purchases you make after following links from my page. The whisky is also available from several other excellent retailers.