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Glenfarclas '105'

(one of) The (many) Benefit(s) of Festivals

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@RianCReview by @RianC

14th Oct 2017

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  • Nose
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  • Taste
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  • Overall
    88

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Was at a festival recently, my first, and amongst some absolute crackers, such as an indi Port Charlotte 12, a 42 single grain Invergordon, Glengoyne 21 and an indi bottling of Octomore, this one still stood up proudly. So much so that of all the bottles I'd tried, and could afford, I picked up this one. The Benromach 15 being very close on its heels. It was, to quote Lou Reed ' . . .such a perfect day'.

My last sherry 'bomb' cask strength was the A'Bunadh, probably from around 2014/15 batch 49 iirc/. It was my first CS whisky and was a novel and enjoyable experience but found it needed lots of water to get past the nip. It beefed up the 10 considerably though.

On the nose, sherry; dry, sweet and woody. Lots of spice that I'm guessing comes from the European oak? Cinnamon, clove, that kind of thing. Less alcoholic than you'd imagine and I was very impressed on first contact. With water and time a vanilla cream note comes in, some coffee, a touch of milky chocolate - white? - and that adorable damp earth dunnage note you seem to get from GF. A wisp of smoke perhaps?

Taste wise; sweet and dry. More fruity than the nose. Red berries/fruit but more fresh than dried although there's a touch of the latter. Starts to dry the mouth and turn sour but in a very pleasant way. The spices start to kick in as well. Needs a little water for me to get at it but still enjoyable, if concentrated, neat. Mouth feel is thick and moreish.

The finish is fairly long and the dry spice notes linger with a lovely mouth coating, almost cloying, fruitiness.

Well worth the purchase (around £50) and very good vfm. I think I prefer this dryer style of sherry influence to the more sweeter style. Praise be the festival scene as, although this was one i wanted to try, it would likely have been a good while before I got one.

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13 comments

@Frost
Frost commented

@RianC thank you for the review, I like your notes. I agree this one is great VFM. I prefer it without water, I just take it slow and easy and enjoy the ride.

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

It's interesting, I haven't tried the A'Bunadh 49 yet ( 6 months to go) but most of my batches I've enjoyed with drops of water and found that the 105 needed more water, and as hotter.

2 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

I've tasted Glenfarclas 105 only once, and I was disappointed in it. What I had seemed rough and inelegant, nothing like Glenfarclas 15 yo. That is probably why I have never purchased a bottle of it. I do read reviews stating that it improves with air exposure, which is a promising report. I am eager to try some more of it again, for sure.

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

@Frost
Frost commented

@Victor was it the 10 yr or the NAS?

2 years ago 0

@Frost
Frost commented

Interesting, the times I've tasted the NAS the bottle has been opened in advance (I can't say for what period of time). I have an unopened bottle of the 10 and will see how it goes when I open.

2 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

My own experience was with the 10 yo, I believe.

2 years ago 0

@RianC
RianC commented

@Frost - Thanks! I'll probably start neat but then add a few drops as I go. It's certainly palatable at that strength. Without going on too much of a tangent I find adding water to be a very changeable thing for me. Some days my palate seems to need it and others I prefer it as it comes - that's with all whiskys. Although some aren't helped at all by adding water it seems! I do find it impressive when a whisky at a higher strength can be enjoyed neat.

2 years ago 0

@RianC
RianC commented

@Nozinan - I've just double checked and think I made an error on the batch number. I am certain the strength was less than 60% so must have been batch 53 or 50. I'd like to say 53 as I'm sure it was at 59.7 not 59.6 but my memory is clearly failing me ;) Sorry to not be 100% clear. I have a feeling I was eyeing up a 49er at another time and that number stuck.

It was also my first whisky at such a strength and so probably found it a bit harder to get accustomed to neat.

2 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

@RianC N o worries, I'll be getting to some of those higher batches some time in the future...

I find the need *and amount) to add water varies by whisky (even among CS expressions) and by my mood. The best example I can think of is Stagg Jr. Sometimes I like it neat, and other times I can't handle it without water.

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

Taco commented

I'm a big fan of 105 10 YO, but haven't bought it since it went NAS. I'm not that big on sherries whiskies, and Glendronach 15 and 18 became available here about that time (heavenly whiskies!!). I would drink a bit of it, (always with water!) then put it back for several months. Huge improvement once I pulled it out again in 6-9 months. Went from good (82-83) to excellent (90-92). Don't know if that works with NAS. Even better was the Macallan CS! Wow! I still dream of finding a dusty if that one!

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

@MadSingleMalt
MadSingleMalt commented

@RianC : "[The 105] beefed up the 10 considerably."

Yes!

Obviously, the CS whisky you added increased the ABV (and reduced the relative amount of water)—I imagine you hit a "sweet spot" that very few whiskies come in from the seller. If we look across the whisky landscape, we see lots of 40% & 43% "mass market" stuff, you see a good number of 46% stuff for the enthusiasts, and some CS stuff for us nutjobs. But there's not much in the ~50% range. Sad! The only common 50% whiskies I can think of off the top of my head are recent Bruichladdichs, Cutty Sark Prohibition, Benriach Solstice, and Old Malt Cask IBs. I'm sure there are a few more, but there aren't tons.

Too bad. It's a nice "sweet spot," as I say, that delivers a big whollop of power and flavor without blowing your head off. And I think it's an obvious attraction for any of us nutjobs perusing the shelf.

(And yes, I can see the marketing arguments against selling whiskies in this "no man's land" of high- but not full-strength ABVs. But it's a shame.)

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

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