Glenfarclas is one of the remaining family owned distilleries – in fact, the current owners are direct descendents of the original owners from the 1800s. They folks at Glenfarclas are known for using high-quality sherry casks to age their whisky, and their product ranges from a 10 year old drink to 21 years and more.
There's certainly not much splash behind the marketing for Glenfarclas, and the bottle isn’t all that impressive. I’m a bit of a whisky bottle snob, I admit, and while I like the fat whisky bottle Glenfarclas uses, the issue I have is the thick writing on the bottle that makes it look a little cartoonish. The thinner handwriting from the older bottles looked better (in my opinion). For this reason my Glenfarclas is hidden away near the back of my whisky cabinet. That's not necessarily a bad thing, as I’ve reached for it less often and thus been able to enjoy it for longer.
I selected the Glenfarclas 15 year old because it seemed more along my taste-range. At 46% alcohol it certainly has the bite I’m looking for, but due to the 15 years of maturing in sherry casks you can expect a sweetness that will soothe the taste buds.
The deep amber colour is perfect for this type of Scotch. When you tilt the glass and then let the whisky settle, long legs slowly drip their way down the glass from the viscosity of the drink. On the nose it's a little sharp, so don't take a deep breath, but rather let the fragrance come to you: barley sweetness along with candied fruit – think candied orange-peel. On the initial taste it has a thickly syrupy nature (almost like an ice-wine), but with the sharpness of the alcohol it brings out a nice balance. There's a bitterness on the tongue akin to dark chocolate, and a slight oaky flavour that starts out gentle and lengthens into a long beautiful finish. Sumptuous would be the way I'd describe this drink, and it is truly a treat on the taste-buds. If you’re like me and prefer your sweeter Scotches sharp and enjoy a long finish, this would be an excellent selection.
Glenfarclas has a good range of drinks at the LCBO starting at $60 for their 10 year-old and going up to $120 for their 21 year-old. The 15 year-old featured here has the highest content of alcohol; all but the 10 year old have 43%. I would recommend the 12 year-old over the 10 for the extra $5, and I'd suggest the 15 year-old if you like more bite to your sherry-based Scotches.