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Monday, 13 August 2012

The Glorious 105

As normality returns to the streets of London after what has been a sensational display of national pride, one's mind turns to the British traditions, which have seemingly stood the test of time and the letter of the law.

Yesterday was what is known in the UK as 'The Glorious Twelfth', a day celebrated on  country estates the length and breadth of the land ( and surprisingly, many notable estates across South London...).  It remains glorious to those who enjoy nothing simpler than donning one's stalking gear, polishing one's barrels and bagging a couple of Red Grouse for the supper pot.  Hunting legislation has marked out the 12th of August as the start of the shooting season and the day itself is often marked with huge hunting parties.  If, like this year, the 12th falls on a Sunday, the date is often postponed to the 13th, so we thought it rather timely to bring you news of a whisky release timed to perfection.

Glenfarclas are no strangers to high-powered drams of a certain calibre. Their fiendishly strong 105 release has bedazzled and bamboozled palates around the world with its heady mix of hard hitting spice, dried fruit and brown sugar.  Originally released as an 8 year old in the late 1960's, the bottling subsequently became a 10 year old and in 2008, to commemorate its 40th anniversary,  a 40 year old.

To celebrate the game season, a special limited edition 20 year old edition of 105 has been put together, released as a batch of 4,000 bottles.   Now according to royal records, King Edward VII and his shooting party once managed to take out 1,300 partridge in a single day's shooting on the Sandringham estate. Quite a remarkable number of birds really -  some would probably call this avian genocide, others probably a skill that would have won the King several golds at the Olympics.

Whatever your feeling is on shooting, or for that matter eating game,  in our opinion Glenfarclas hits the mark for a classic, big flavoured outdoor-beast-of-a-whisky, perfect for celebrating a successful tally of felled fowl, or equally suitable to commiserate one's party when the League Against Cruel Sports scares them all away before a single shot is fired.

Glenfarclas 105 - The Glorious Twelfth Edition -  20 Years Old - 60% 

Nose: Initially, notes of gunpowder (we kid you not) mixed with smoked orange peel, warming clove spice notes, fruit pie (apple and rhubarb) dark chocolate, fresh mint and a touch of white pepper.  Being that this is 60%  I am duly obliged to take a big swig without water, of which you will see the results below. Given a few drops of water, woody sherry notes begin to take hold, alongside a touch of burnt bonfire cinders, cherry jam and dark toffee.  

Palate:  Wow, hitting squarely with both barrels, the palate is blasted by an elephant gun of flavour, including more of the cloves, bitter coffee, mint chocolate, caramelised oranges and malt.   With a sensible dash of water, the soft fruits begin to get a look in with plums, ripe red apples and marmalade hitting the spot, alongside a backdrop of malty digestive biscuits. 

Finish:  The drying spices linger, giving this warmth and a distinct note of the morning after bonfire. 

Overall:  105 has always been a super dram, packed tightly with spice and punch, rather like a shotgun cartridge. The Glorious 12th Edition ups the size of the weapon, but gives it a distinct air of complexity and class-  rather like being handed an £80,000 Purdey side-by-side for a day's shooting.  


Glenfarclas 105 Glorious Twelfth Edition is available from, priced at £200