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Glenfarclas '105'

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@hunggarReview by @hunggar

31st Mar 2014

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  • Nose
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  • Taste
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  • Overall
    86

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We all have a whisky or five that holds a special place in our hearts. We love them because they are the whiskies we tried for the first time many moons ago and said “Yes. This is good. I want more.” I remember thinking just that while drinking a glass of ‘Farclas 105 with friends at a bar a few years back. Since then I’ve enjoyed the 105 several times over, and I honestly have no idea why it’s taken me this long to review it. Better late than never, I suppose. Before we start, it should be noted that I always drink 105 with water.

Nose: Big blast of sherry. Heavy sultanas, figs, oranges, orange pekoe tea, orange chocolate, wax apples, pears, twigs, damp earth and leaves, oak, and a pinch of salt. This is dark, tannin heavy, and quite drying.

Palate: Oily mouthfeel. More sherry. Big, deep, dark, and rich. Red wine tannins, red fruits, oranges, damp soil, and oak. Spices transition us into the finish. There’s chili spice, all spice, woodspice, and cinnamon.

Finish: Long, dry, and just bitter enough. There’s red wine tannin, heavy spices, salt, oak, and burnt wood offering a counterbalance to the sweetness. From the sweet side there’s dark chocolate, sultanas, plums, figs, wax apples, and other fruity delights.

I can’t help but feel there’s a good deal of batch variation that happens with these 105 bottles. I’ve had several so far, and I’ve noticed a few inconsistencies. While they are all of good quality, I can definitely say that some are a bit youngish compared to others. Such is the case with the bottle I have right now. Although the tasting notes are similar, there’s a bit more of an off-key, young astringency to this bottle than I’ve had in previous ones, particularly tried neat. When sipped neat this one is drinkable, but rougher. I find myself adding more water to this than I have in the past. By contrast I visited a friend a few days back who also has a bottle open right now, and his stuff was decidedly more mature and less sharp.

That being said, this is always enjoyable. It’s not the most refined or polished sherry monster out there, but it confidently delivers big, complex, quality flavours at a high abv without becoming to ‘sweetie.’ Unfortunately this bottle isn’t quite up to the standard I’ve come to expect from the 105, so I’ll have to skim a couple of points off. But that’s for my bottle, MOST bottles are better than this. It’s important to remember that when this stuff is good, it’s goooooooood.

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4 comments

@Victor
Victor commented

Thanks for a nice nuanced review. One of the bigger shortcomings to whisky reviews is in reviewers failing to notice or to note how very often whiskies VARY within their own taste profiles. It is pretty understandable, though. It does require a good deal of experience with multiple bottles of each reviewed whisky to be in a position to make observations about consistency of flavour profiles within the individual expression being evaluated.

5 years ago 0

@hunggar
hunggar commented

Yeah I usually hold off on those kinds of observations for exactly that reason. But I'm always appreciative of the reviewers such as yourself on this site who do a wonderful job comparing batches, which is one of the reasons why this website in particular is a great resource.

5 years ago 0

@WhiskyBee
WhiskyBee commented

Another fine and eloquent review, @hunggar. Is this a newer batch? My bottle of 105, the only one I've tried, was the last one the store had in the older-style bottle (pictured above). I'd agree with most of your notes (especially the sherry, wine tannins, fruits, and spices), but I have no basis for comparison with regards to complexity. Just wondering if yours is a newer bottle and if the quality's gone slightly downhill.

5 years ago 0

@hunggar
hunggar commented

Hi @WhiskyBee. Thanks for the kind words, and welcome back! Yes this is a newer bottling. I'm not sure how it compares to the older versions because I haven't tried them. I can't say if the whisky simply varies or if it's actually going downhill. There are some codes on the bottle but I don't know how to decipher them, so I have no idea when the lesser bottles were made in relation to the better ones.

5 years ago 0

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