Tonight, I’ll be tasting Glenfarlcas’ 17 year old whisky. This brand has been distilled by the Grant family since 1865 and is one of the oldest independant distilleries. The distillery itself has been there for over 170 years and uses large copper stills (see “What is single malt whisky?”), the biggest is Speyside. The stills are directly fired, meaning there’s fire burning underneath the stills. The oak casks are usually first fill sherry and the aging takes place in dunnage warehouses. As you can see from the link, that’s a Laphroaig warehouse. These are traditional warehouses in which barrels are stacked only up to three barrels high for improved air circulation. The floor is earth and the roof is low. The roof is made of slate and the walls of stone. The resulting higher humidity is said to improve the product.
This is a Speyside, but the bottle says Highland. The term Speyside is apparently recent and the labels on the bottle have maintained the Highland name. The 17 year old is not easily found and is made for North American and Japanese markets, and some duty free shops. The SAQ only has it in stock from time to time, and currently has an extensive stock.
The product before me is a light amber or gold. The legs running surprisingly thin an quick.
The nose is nice and rich, quite complex. I’m picking up almond, caramel or butterscotch.
Smooth on the palate and chewy. Definitely butterscotch, some smoke and almond. Some spice as well.
Finish is long and warm. Complex, starting slightly sweet and ending with nut. Hint of smoke throughout as well as oak. The oak makes its presence better known towards the end and lasts long after the other flavours have faded.
With some water, I get more oak and spice on the nose. Some sweetness to it as well to compliment the other scents.
On the palate, more silky, more oak, more almond, a bit of spice. Impression of cinnamon. Wonderful combination of all these flavours.
The finish continues to be long and hints of smoke. I now taste bitter dark chocolate with the oak that lingers once again for quite some time.
On the whole, I’ll call this one of my favourites. The flavours are intense and I’m sure I haven’t captured all of them. Please pick this up and do yourself a favour. Easy drinking whisky never tasted so good. It’s a light whisky, which is not surprising given the size of the stills. When you’ve tasted it, please send me your comments. I am definitely interested in how your interpretation of this differs/compares to mine.