Nov 042015

Glenfarclas needs no introductions, nor do their dream drams at The Whisky Show.

Following last year’s 1966 Fino Cask (you can read the review here), the dream dram this year was a decade older, from 1956. This expression is to commemorate the second generations of Grants, carrying a plaque with the picture of George Grant (the first of three successive generations to carry the name George, albeit not due to a planned forsaking of the other traditional family name – John). This George Grant is the great grandfather of today’s chairman, John Grant. Sadly, he outlived his father, John Grant, by only one year, and left Glenfarclas to his two sons: John and George. I guess their story, getting the distillery through the hardest of times following the Pattison affair will be a story told next year, over a dram of the third release in the series.

This expression is comprised of two Oloroso sherry hogshead and one sherry butt. Cask 1762 was distilled 1.6.1956, cask 1774 on 5.6.1956 and cask 2356 was distilled on 30.10.1956. The expression was bottled on July 15th 2014, making this expression 57 years old. There are 660 bottles in the outturn.


Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:

Glenfarclas 1956 Oloroso Sherry Casks, 57 Years Old, Casks 1762, 1744 and 2356, Vintage 1956, Bottled 2014 (47.5% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Deep bronze, thin legs.

Nose: Old leather, dried apricot, compote, the nose is somewhat reluctant. Notes of stone fruit – peaches and fresh plums – with a hint of mango. Wood spice with nutmeg and clove with hints of white pepper.

Palate: Fresh orange, leather, cloves. The whisky is very dry on the palate with notes of ripe summer fruit and blackcurrant.

Linger: Longish and fruity with a hint of spice in the back of the throat.


This is a proper sherry bomb, with that lovely dry old sherry feel. This is a very different animal from the 1966 Fino casks, hitting completely different notes. Beautiful whisky!

Torben, thank you for sharing this dram! It was a true beauty!!


Dec 122014

About a month and a half ago, I gave my friend and fellow blogger Yoav access to the list of whiskys I had tasted, which I had just moved onto the computer. After an hour or so Yoav tells me that he has a challenge for me. He noticed the list was at 460 and my birthday was about six weeks away. “Do you think you can get to 500 by your birthday?” he asked. Not one to shy away from a challenge, I said yes, knowing that my birthday dram is already waiting for me, since I bought a 3cl sample of my birth year family cask to celebrate following last years birthday dram – the Glenfarclas 40.

Indeed, over the past 5 weeks I enjoyed samples exchanged with friends from all over the world and had my 499th single malt expression on Wednesday night at our MMI Club Meeting.  Now I’m enjoying this beautiful classic old sherry and spice, and with these notes, I start my 46th orbit. May it be one full of amazing drams enjoyed with great friends 🙂


Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:

Glenfarclas 1969 Family Cask (Release VI) (56.2% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Mahogany with very slow forming legs lazily rolling down the glass.

Nose: Old sherry, polished wood, warm wood spices, cooked fruit in a deep syrup, a dusty library and some high quality cognac. After time, an underlying sweetness is revealed.
Water brings out the dried fruit and cake frosting.

Palate: Neat it’s wood bitterness and sherry sweetness with a very mouth drying effect. Water brings out a mild sherry vinegary quality

Linger: Spiciness abounds on the tongue with some sourness and a mouth drying bitter tannin effect. Old wood in liquid form. The sherry is evident, with faint notes of pipe tobacco


What can I say? I love the old sherry effect, with the balance in this one leaning powerfully toward the oak. A special dram for a special occasion, and a very worthy opening for a (hopefully) outstanding 46th year.

I also want to take this occasion to thank all the wonderful friends who joined my whisky journey this past year, many over Facebook from all over the globe, and some in person in Israel and abroad. I appreciate you and love the fact that we can share our passion.

I’ll also wish my dear friend Manny from Austria a happy 45th birthday (but he’s just a kid, having been born a full day after me) 🙂





Nov 032014

One of the most popular dream drams at the London Whisky Show was the 1966 Glenfarclas aged in Fino Sherry casks, and no wonder, as you don’t get to see Fino Sherry coming out of Glenfarclas every day. The official story is of long forgotten casks, which then had to be traced back to diaries kept by 4th generation George Grant, who was at the helm from 1949 to 2002.

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This expression is the harbinger of a new series of six whiskies, celebrating each of the six generation of the Grant family, who have owned Glenfarclas since 1865. This one is dedicated to John Grant, founder of the dynasty. There’s no information yet on the next expression. presumingly honoring George Grant. His namesake, Brand Ambassador George S. Grant, with whom I chatted in London, said in a press release that the next expression in the series will be totally different.



Glenfarclas 1966 Fino Casks, Casks 4194, 4195 and 4197 distilled 23/9/1966, bottled 18/12/2013, 1/1444 bottles (50.5% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Bronze, thin legs and quite a bit of residue drops

Nose: It’s clearly Glenfarclas, but gone is the sweetness of the nose, which obviously makes sense when you replace the Oloroso with Fino. The nose starts out with some tart notes with some citrus and becoming more sour as it opens. With the sour notes, a tantalizing sweet distant flower note appears. Curiously, the malt is still on the nose despite all those years in the cask.

Palate: Dry on the palate, with sweet and bitter notes playing across the mouth. It’s spicy, but not peppery (more like allspice or white pepper).

Linger: Long with a tangy sourness remaining on the tongue with light spice and floral notes remaining.


This was another face of Glenfarclas I got to see, following the previous day’s Port Cask I previously reviewed. Fresh, despite being 47 years old, this is a great dram with a very subtle complexity to it.

I can definitely say I’m curiously looking forward to the other expressions in this series.

On another note, I’ll be celebrating my 45th birthday on December 12th.  My friend and fellow blogger Yoav of Whisky Gospel noticed that my tasting list is at 460 malts, and challenged me to make 500 by my birthday by tasting one new dram a day until then. I accepted the challenge (which is considerably faster than my normal rate of tasting, shows and festivals not included), and plan to have my birthday dram – a Glenfarclas 1969 Family Cask, incidentally –  coincide with my 500th single malt.

Oct 222014

Glenfarclas are known for their almost religious traditionalism, sticking with sherry and bourbon casks and staunchly opposing new ideas such as finishes. However, every once in a while, a non traditional gem pops up. When I say non traditional, I only mean that it’s a cask that you don’t traditionally see, because even the whisky found in non traditional casks, fully matured there its whole life.

In 2012, there was a 43 year old Cognac Cask bottling, which I have regrettably not had. However, at the whisky show, a 31 year matured in port casks was on pour, as was a 1966 Fino Sherry cask that I will review at a later date.

The liquid was distilled in 1981 and placed in a first fill port cask yielding 480 bottles and was released last year.

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:

Glenfarclas 31 Year Old Port Cask (42.8% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Dark gold with rather quick legs.

Nose: Coffee, bittersweet pralines with chocolate-nut filling and notes of gentle spices (ginger and clove).

Palate: This is very different than the “normal” Glenfarclas. The mouthfeel is very dry and the spices are very dominant. You’ll find allspice, clove some nutmeg and turmeric (curcumin).

Linger: The finish is medium, very dry with notes of chocolate, soft spices and coffee, leaving a tingle on the inside of your cheeks.


This expresson is very special. I didn’t get to taste the Congac cask from two years ago, but tasting this completely different animal from Glenfarclas was fun.

In a way, both the special bottles offered at the show, the Port Cask and the 1966 Fino are expressions that vary quite widely from the “regualr character” of the distillery.











Jun 252014

Ballindalloch is the “undisclosed” name for Glenfarclas, and this lovely little dram was the counterpart of the ex-bourbon Glenfarclas we had in the Malt Mongers Tel Aviv meeting last week. That SMWS 1.156 Glenfarclas dram was reviewed here.

The Ballindalloch spent about the same time in a sherry butt as the SMWS was in its bourbon cask (that one was 11 years, this one 12), and these two whiskies couldn’t be more different.

It was fascinating to taste these two drams together.

June 2014 Malt Mongers Cask Strength Tasting

June 2014 Malt Mongers Cask Strength Tasting


Ballindalloch 12, Distilled 2001, Hand Bottled in 2014 from cask at The Whisky Exchange (59.2% ABV, NCF, NC) – Tasting Notes

Color: Deep Bronze, slow well spaced legs.

Nose: Fino like sherry, sunmade raisins, dried banana chips, fresh fruit basket, rich cream and fresh cherries.

Palate: Those raisins are out in force in a very chewy dram even with some water. Tangerines, oak tannins and a deep sweetness.

Linger: Short and sweet with raisins, prunes and light spice.