Translate Caskstrength!

Thursday 17 May 2012

The Old Man Of Ballindalloch

Well, here's a turn up for the books.  As we mentioned in a previous post it seems that a few distilleries are raising the stakes by releasing some truly striking bottlings in preparation for the Queen's Jubilee of varying ages.    

Well not Glenfarclas.   George and his team haven't jumped on the 'Jubilimpics' bandwagon, yet are releasing their oldest expression in the distillery's history.  A single cask, filled in 1953 has been purchased by Polish finance company, Wealth Solutions, released exclusively by Master Of Malt and by the looks of things, the 400 or so bottles are well on their way to becoming the stuff of legend.  George Grant jokingly mentions that he wasn't even born when cask 1674 was filled and that it was his grandfather, who was in charge of the distillery.

The bottling was chosen from one of four casks of the oldest whiskies in Glenfarclas' warehouse and was bottled 47.2%.

On closer inspection, the rather grand miniature we have been sent of this ancient liquid is not the robust dark, tannic colour one would expect for a whisky nearing 60 years old, but as always, appearances can be deceiving, so the only way to truly judge this elder gent's talents are to pour a healthy dram.

Glenfarclas - 58 years old - Cask 1674 - filled 20th November 1953 - 47.2%

Nose: Surprisingly light, given all that time in the oak.  Notes of lighter dried fruit emerge first, with apricot jam, chopped almonds, some sweet vanilla notes, balanced by a very light spicy note (hints of cinnamon buns, glazed with brown sugar) Further in, a sweeter caramel note develops, giving this a much more spritely feel than expected.  Old for sure, but still working its magic.

Palate: The tannins make themselves known with an upfront dryness and more of the spiced buns.  A return of the apricot, mixed with fragrant vanilla, more chopped nuts and cereal notes. A dash of water reduces some of the tannic influence, leading to a resurgence of the vanilla notes and this time sweeter fruit notes.

Finish:  Lingering oak notes, with a particular spiciness left of the palate.

Overall:  An elderly gentlemen, with all the stamina and sense of fun that an ageing playboy has, but with a wisdom and experience to back it up.  This is a surprisingly youthful whisky in places, with some drier cask influence, but make no mistake, it certainly has more life in it yet.  The Robert Redford of the Glenfarclas range. Superb.