Glenfarclas 15 y.o. single malt whisky
First lines about Glenfarclas whiskies. A distillery, which is still family owned and continues to produce in its current practice, delicious whiskies matured in sherry casks, moreover, without raising the price of the final product almost to madness, because of unnecessary marketing. When we add to the above lines and easily recognizable and beautiful bottle, and now the prerequisites for liquid magic are already available. But sip by sip. Now a few words about the brand and its history.
“Valley of the green grassland”, as the name of the distillery is translated, was founded in 1836, when the licence was held by Robert Hay. For a while around 1850 Glenfarclas was also known under the name ‘Glenlivet’. Why? Maybe because at that time almost everyone wanted to copy Glenlivet for the quality of their whisky, respectively to fit the market and draw dividends. Subsequently, the distillery regained its name, and the only Glenlivet remains the original, indicated then on the labels as The Glenlivet. In 1865 Glenfarclas was bought by the Grant family /not the ones who founded Grant`s/ and after a short period, during which it was managed by John Smith, the distillery fell permanently into the hands of the Grant clan’s descendants /who still own it/. In 1895 the Glenfarclas-Glenlivet Distillery Co Ltd was formed. Half of the company and Glenfarclas was owned by the Grant family and the other half by Pattison, Elder & Co. These same Pattison brothers started out their activity as traders of dairy products, which subsequently replaced with whisky. The brothers were resourceful and enterprising. Their „empire“ gradually expanded and so as to advertise their blend whisky, they distributed not a few talking parrots amongst the groceries, which were carefully trained to brainwash the buyers with the phrase „Buy Pattisons!“ And enought many people followed the advice of the bird voices. So the brothers made a financial backup. But for the purposes of their business they took large loans, which were spent on solid advertising too. They spent untold sums of money per year to promote their products, as in several consecutive years spent between 20.000 and 60.000 pounds. At that time this was a colossal amount of money enough to build distilleries. And as I mentioned distilleries, Pattison acquired those of Oban and Aultmore, as well as the mentioned part of Glenfarclas. The luck was with them, and thus the attention of lenders – banks, traders, whisky producers … Everything was more than perfect, but when the brothers were stowed behind the thick walls of the prison for committed frauds, it was not only their empire that collapsed. The subsequent processes of closure of distilleries and collapse in the whisky industry are now known by the name „The Pattison Crisis“. After their collapse, the Glenfarclas distillery has continued to operate entirely under the Grant family control, who decided to change the name of the company to „J. & G. Grant“. The following decades were very gratifying and in 60’s and 70’s the production capacity of the distillery was expanded. The malt flowed like a river. Regardless of the management crisis, the people involved in whisky distillation knew how to do their job and by using high quality sherry casks, they produced a highly valued malt. As the tendency is still the same today. Until now, I have not had time to try their product, but during the „Whisky, rum & wine“ festival in Sofia, perfectly organized by Optimist1, I managed to procure materials for some interesting reviews. The first one is dedicated to the 15-year-old distillate, which is the initial step towards the older distillates. And now time came for my annotations.
Aroma – liqueur, prunes, raisins, walnuts, chocolate, slight „green notes“, tobacco as of a cigarette pack, honey, cherries, drunken cherries, sweetness, light woodiness, spiciness, the whisky bears beautiful hints of sherry. More chocolate with nougat and orange peels, strawberry jam, blueberries. And since the whisky is with a 46% alcohol content, I added a few drops of water. After the addition, the aroma opened up a little and brought caramel and caramel-chocolate topping, blueberry cheesecake, fruity marmalade and lots of dried fruits. Taste – spiciness, woodiness, oily, sherry and dried fruits, mouth immediately begins to fill up with saliva, light traces of peat, sweetness, honey, hazelnuts and light bitterness as of espresso. With water – more sweetness, but the piquant spices are still here. Finish – long, spicy, honey, apricot kernels, the sweetness was initially absent, but occured gradually. Buttery, dried-fruit fruitcake, strong hint of prunes, a cake that reminded me of Easter bread with jam. With water – liquorness, more nuts.
In summary: a great whisky, which can be found for around 75 lv.