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For the 105th or so review, there was really only one option…. I've reviewed a range of Glenfarclases (10/15/21/25/30/40), but none with such high ABV; this feature is often seen as making the 105 a contender to Aberlour's A'bunadh (of which I've tasted 4 batches and reviewed 2). Let's see. I am reviewing it H2H, against its older 20yo version. My first notes are for full strength (mind you, sipped appropriately at 2 drops at a time!)
First vapor: Stale cardboard, maybe some caramel. But don't be fooled; it gets better.
Nose: Big toffee caramel, or rich butterscotch, in milk chocolate and clove. Maybe slight grass after a while. Seems richer and smoother-- than the 20yo, but also mellower.
Palate: Toffee with sour cherry, getting massive, thick, and oily. Tartness comes down from the peak ,and then it becomes a touch flatter, with a zesty kick of ginger building. I notice a bit of "young tannins", that kind of grassy burn I've found in poire williams. But there is almost no burn here, which is impressive.
Finish: Drier oaky caramel, with remnant (lighter) ginger pear.
Scores 84-ish, neat; good but losing points for grass and sourness.
Nose: Thinner caramel and milk chocolate, with just a dusting of cinnamon clove. A tiny bit of grassy youth if I'm being critical (and overbreathe).
Palate: Very little difference from full strength except better— so the malt takes water well. Still full caramel & sour cherry character, except now it's improved with more cinnamon-cocoa-clove and good honey, AND less ginger sting. This will bump my score up, by 3-ish points.
Finish: Now less dry & less hot, which is good. Some clove spice in the mouth; caramel and brazil nuts, and cinnamon bark on exhale.
With a little water, for me this is roughly similar in style to the 15yo. In comparison, the 105 gives fruitier sour-cherry but lacks those notes of walnut/orange/butter. I miss these, so as an infrequent drinker I will probably stay with the 15. But if you consume more than me, the 105 is really a great value, because the quality is still pretty good. For the same liter price, you get about 1/3 higher ABV (which effectively makes it 25% cheaper), and you get more opportunity to tune it to your liking. Compared to the A'bunadh, this is less nutty(-caramel) and more cherry(-clove). For my tastes, the A'bunadh squeaks by for this reason.... But they are similar in value— depending on batch of course. (You can get a liter of the 105 for around 45 Euros.)