Glenfarclas is to whisky what Bentley is to cars- excellently made, to the highest standards, in the traditional manner. You do not mess with classic style, so there are no gimmicky finishes from the distillery, no malt alchemy in its labs. Glenfarclas is one of the last family firms still making whisky in Scotland and it survives by simply being the best at what it does. And what it does is to produce big, bold fruity sherry-influenced Speyside malts. Much of the day-to-day management is handled by father and-son team John and George Grant, with George very much in the front line. After several years of travelling the world promoting his malts, George may well be cutting back on the globetrotting. It is not all it is cracked up to be, he says, especially when you are detained at immigration in the Far East twice- once for carrying a plastic bag full of white powder, which turned out to be barley flour, and once for carrying a suspicious-looking lump of peat.
The chosen one: Glenfarclas 12 Year Old
Well rounded initial honey sweetness followed by spices dancing on my tongue.
In the press:
Soft and gentle on the nose and offering a lively balance of peat and malt flavours on the light, simple and “squeaky clean” palate- Winestate- Vol 33 Issue 4- July/August 2010. 4 Stars.
Long, with soft almost ice-cream style vanillas with a grapey topping. A superb re-working of an always trustworthy malt. This dramatic change in shape works a treat and suits the malt perfectly. What a sensational success! Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2012 94/100
Other awards- The fifty best 2011- tied for 3rd place and double gold, San Fransisco world spirits 2009- double gold, single malt world cup, Whiskyspot.com 2005- “best sherried whisky”.
The chosen one: Glenfarclas 15 Year Old
Raisins, more sherry, orange peel, walnuts, dates. This is Christmas cake, not whisky. Superb!
In the press:
An intense, dark, sherried 15yo malt from one of the best distilleries in Speyside. Aged for a little bit longer and bottled at a higher strength, for a more concentrated, richer flavour and resulting in an incredibly long finish. As always, Glenfarclas remains one of the best value malts on the market – a must for lovers of sherried whisky- The Whisky Exchange, Whisky of the year- 2013.
From one of the last independent, family-owned distilleries, it best typifies the sherried style of scotch- the 15 year old displays dried fruits, Christmas pudding, sweetness and spice- Canberra Times- Andrew Derbidge- 03.10.12
A little about the distillery and production manager, Callum Fraser:
1. Could you tell us a bit about how you got into the whisky business? What advice would you offer to a college student trying to break into it today?
I started in the whisky industry in October 1990 as the local distillery was reopened after laying silent for 9 years, then worked my way through all aspects of the process learning the skills needed to produce quality spirit.
2. What do you personally look for in an everyday sipping whisky?
I always look for sweet cereal notes at first then a nice deep fruity finish, most importantly I would always check to ensure the spirit is not feinty by adding some water.
3. So what would you say is the hardest part of your job? And when I say that I don’t mean the worst part.
Once a distillery is well established the most important part is to ensure continuity of the new spirit so as the matured whisky remains the same in the future, to do this we must ensure that any changes to process or new machinery do not effect things.
4. Of the Glenfarclas range, what is your favourite?
My personal favorite is the 21 year old, a stunning whisky, full of depth and flavour.
5. Are there any new trends in whisky’s that have impressed you of late?
The whole of the industry is always moving forward with technology which is very interesting, I feel however that sometimes we should keep some of the traditional methods used to make Whisky as computers don’t have characters and characters are what makes good whisky.