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Glenfarclas '105'

Average score from 29 reviews and 109 ratings 85

Glenfarclas '105'

Product details

  • Brand: Glenfarclas
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 60.0%

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@OdysseusUnbound
Glenfarclas '105'

Glenfarclas is one of Scotland's few truly independent distilleries. John Grant bought it in 1865 and it's been in the family ever since. They have the largest stills in the Speyside region, although they eschew the Speyside designation and brand their offerings as "Highland Whisky". Glenfarclas doesn't ever add any colouring to their whisky, which is a nice touch.

Tasting Notes

  • Nose (undiluted): raisins at first, then bright notes of green apples and pears, walnuts, nutmeg, dark toffee, and a bit of a maple note.
  • Palate (undiluted): very hot arrival, medium bodied, Christmas cake, dark toffee, nutmeg, cloves, raisins, walnuts, oak
  • Finish: not quite as long as I expected, medium length, with some red grapes, nutmeg, toffee and green apple returning

With water there’s the tiniest bit of wood smoke on the nose. It’s faint, almost imperceptible, but it's there. Darker fruits appear with water, prunes or dates maybe. It doesn’t get much gentler on the palate with water, but it gets much more cake-like, and the spices are actually more prominent than the fruit with water added. After the bottle’s been open for a few weeks, the heat on the arrival calms down a bit. It also feels a bit “rounder” and richer, if that makes sense. This is a terrific whisky.

I can see how this whisky can divide people. It's much brighter than most sherry bombs. There aren't as many "bass notes" if that makes sense. Glenfarclas 105 is more like a duet between a tenor and a mezzo soprano; perhaps Carmen and Don Jose. And although I'm more of a bass-baritone, like Escamillo, the toreador, I prefer Glenfarclas 105 to A'Bunadh Batch 53.

Nice review. I would think the whisky is more like the bull in Carmen. It's entertaining for a while, then it runs out of juice and is discarded (10 cent deposit in Ontario).

@Nozinan A’Bunadh seems to get better reviews than Farclas 105, generally speaking. But I guess I’m just more fond of the “house” Glenfarclas character, if there is such a thing. I’ll have to bottle a sample of this for you soon, as it appears that my bottle is leaking, or some ghost (or angel) is helping himself or herself to it. There’s no way I’m drinking it that frequently. stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye

@RianC

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.

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.

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

@Pandemonium

Aka. The whisky equivalent of Glühwein (that’s mulled wine to all you Anglophones).

After owning a few Glenfarclas 105s over the years, I thought it was about time that I bloody well wrote a review about it. As the 105 Cask Strength is one of the more iconic drams, I believe this one needs no introduction.


Nose: a big bulgy sherry nose is out there loud and proud, smothering most of the other aromas. Though I can still detect a faint traces of chestnuts, warm plums jam, and some chewing tobacco (with water added: new notes of rice pudding with demerara sugar? I surely wasn’t expecting that!)

Mouth: a rich thick oily body, but dry on the palate. A thick layer dark bitter chocolate with a touch of orange, doused in red wine, sprinkled with cinnamon, cloves and rough grind black pepper.

Finish: a medium long and warm finish, slightly mouth drying, with a drop of orange bitterness in the tail.


Verdict: This is one of the true whisky classics, never came across someone who genuinely dislike the Farclas 105. It is easily one of the most likeable daily sippers. That being said, it is not without its, dare I say it, “shortcomings”. The nose for example is not that impressive or well structured. It is the potency of the taste that drives this powerhouse.

@Pandemonium, thanks for your review. Your appraisal of Glenfarclas 105 is similar to my own. I was disappointed when I first tasted Glenfarclas 105 because I did not find the quality of the flavours to be equal to those of the Glenfarclas 15 yo I have consumed.

Oddly, I've never yet bought a bottle of Glenfarclas 105. When I've gone to Cask Strength Sherry matured, I have thus far opted for Macallan Cask Strength, Amrut Intermediate Sherry, and Aberlour A'bunadh. When I think Glenfarclas, my taste preference goes to the 15 yo over the 105, despite the very meritorious intensity of the 60% ABV version. So I never thought that I "needed" a bottle of Glenfarclas 105 over the other options,...not that I wouldn't enjoy having and drinking a bottle of it. It is probably just a matter of time before I do buy some.

Like Victor, I would buy Macallan CS over the GF 105, but that is no longer an option (fracking Macallan!!). I do prefer it to Abunadh, though, so it is my sherry monster of choice. I've heard that they say it is still 9-10 YO casks in it, so not much change from the old 10, and the taste doesn't seem to have changed. I do use a lot more water with this one compared to everything else to cut both the alcohol burn and the intense sherry flavor. It really blossoms with some air time, so I usually let it set for several months after opening. I do the same for Dalmore 15, and it gets really good after 6-9 months.

@Robert99

Recently, I had on the same night the 105 and A'bunadh batch 46. I said on another thread that it was unfair to compare the two of it and that it would be more interesting to compare the 105 to the 15 yo. So here I am.

I am comparing two bottles that are from this year and have been opened for 2 to 3 weeks and that are both 85% full.

On the nose:

The 15 yo has improved a lot over the weeks. The alcool is not as presents as it was fresh opened. But it is still there bringing a very winy Sherry influence with a dry spicy wood and some green cereals. With air and time you have cherries and almond like on a Canadian rye.

The big difference with 105 is the presence of the malt giving more heavy notes to this whisky. The chocolate has more richness so does the spices and the wood. but everything remain a bit closed.

On the palate:

The 15 yo is all about the dry wood and the spices. the body is rich enough to be interesting but there is a lack of fruit and they are not well defined.

The 105 is way more spicier. You have pepper, cayenne, chocolate and Sherry wine with some sweetness and just before a good alcohol burn that carry the wooden spices. Then the malt is coming back quite heavy, in a good way.

The finish:

When the 15 leaves you with the dry wood, the 105 end with the wine notes and a late and surprising bitterness.

Conclusion:

The nose is the best part of the 15 yo and I believe it announces improvement over time and air. The 105 is still closed but on the palate it is a clear winner. The biggest difference between these two whiskies is the presence of the malt in the 105 making it so more rich. The 105 has also a more fruity Sherry although the wood spices are more defined in the 15 yo they are more on the high notes side while the spices of the 105 are hotter if I my say so. The finish are not there strong point. If the 105 as a longer finish, it also make the bitter note more obvious. At the end, the 105 is the best... for the moment. I think the 15 yo will continue to improve and may become the best of the two.

c

On the nose, sherry oak of course. Caramel and chocolate. Not overpowered with alcohol despite the ABV. Very tasty. Also got raisins and dates, and on some tastings I got a nutty profile. After tasting, butter toffee, like a skor bar, emerges in subsequent nosings.

Arrival is initially harsh due to ABV. There is certainly sweetness with chocolate and caramel coming in strong, and the sherry notes being a bit secondary to me, belying the nose. The sherry comes back more in the finish which is powerful, long, and burning.

Ultimately very nice. This sort of big flavored spirit is predictable enough, but that's no sin. Reasonably priced in Canada, for now. I actually prefer this to the bottle of Aberlour a'bunadh I had a while back (batch 39)... less harsh, I suppose.

Agreed @Canadianbacon. I think the 'Farclas 105 is more consistent than the a'bunadh. Thanks for the review, it reminded me to put this one back on the wish list.

@Nozinan

Over the past three years I have accumulated a number of miniatures, many from UK online retailers in order to bring the maximum volume of spirits (1.1 L) back into Canada. more recently, I have been generously gifted a number of samples from a fellow Connosr.

After reading a recent series by @TAlexander, I’ve been inspired to prepare my own reviews of miniatures and samples. I wasn’t quite ready to start, and I would not have started with this one, except that the LCBO released Glenfarclas 105 over the weekend and I need to know if I “need” to get some before they’re gone.

This miniature was ordered from The Whisky Exchange in 2011 and brought over by a friend shortly after. Batch L5081BB 1 12 58. This is my first taste of this expression and this distillery. The bottle was unsealed for this review, and I am sampling a 25 cc pour.

Notes are presented neat and with water, 2.5 cc of water having been added after all notes for “neat” were taken, and the glass left to open up for 20 minutes.

Nose Neat: First impression is a hit of sherry, followed by raisins and prunes. This subsides with time in the glass. A slight spirity note. Dates as they smell when being cooked in preparation for date squares. Cinnamon, raw cookie dough. Almond extract (the artificial kind, sort of bitter almond...oh that’s it...CYANIDE). This is a drier nose than say, A’Bunadh.

Nose with water: More fruity. The sherry is back but not overwhelming. Some shoe polish, then leather...no, FRUIT leather. Sour cherry, bitter almond in the background (much less than before). The nose is definitely more complex and balanced with water.

Taste Neat: The first taste is fiery, hot. Not surprising with an ABV of 60%. The dried fruits are there. The alcohol really overwhelms the flavour.

Taste with water: Still has an alcohol burn but not as painful. Some sherry, dried fruits coming through.

Finish: Tannins, very drying. No appreciable change with water.

Other notes:

This is a fiery one. It has a great nose but a very intimidating burn. I don’t usually like more than a drop or two of water in my whisky, even at cask strength. In many sherry monsters that’s fine, but this one really needs taming.

I added an extra cc or so of water afterward and it tamed it a little more, with a lot less of the fire and a lot more flavour.

It seems to go well with milk chocolate, and even with dark chocolate.

The longer I sit with it (close to 2 hours since pouring), the more I like it.

Will I get a bottle? Not sure yet. It’s drier than A’Bunadh, but so are the Macallan CS and Bladnoch at 55%. Not sure what this adds to my cabinet. Even though Bladnoch and Macallan are no longer available, I have enough to last me a LONG time, and even more of the A’Bunadh.

The 105 may be a bottle that I can experiment with, trying different amounts of water to see how it changes, an experiment I might not want to do with my rarer sherry monsters.

The second dram out if the mini was a little better. I added more water than I usually do to my scotch. And perhaps the company was better. That certainly seems to make a difference.

I won't be needing to pen my regular bottle anytime soon. With the switch to NAS my 10 YO is a little collectible and will be cooler to open in 19 years when no one else has a 105 with an age statement. In th ekes time I'll "make do" with A'Bunadh, Mac CS (another ip endangered species), Bladnoch, Amrut IS..... No lack of Sherry power in my cabinet!

Like you, I cracked open my 105 as I found my local has started carrying it and it's $10 cheaper than A'bunadh. My bottle was purchased at an SAQ in Gatineau about 6 months ago but am just getting around to sampling. In short, based on the few tastings I am going to have to take a pass on adding any more bottles. Out of the bottle this is too hot, spirity and dry. And I have put many measures of water in this and all I'm getting is that bitter nuttiness. This has just confirmed how much I really enjoy the much vaunted A'Bunadh (batch 45 here).

@MaltActivist

There's not a lot I can tell you about the Glenfarclas 105 that you don't already know. It's the quintessential sherry bomb which, thanks to it's 60% ABV, is the average mans' insanely economical bang for the buck.

Produced at the, still family-owned, Grants Distillery this is truly a Speyside giant with it's over the top flavors and delivery. Now I know a few people who don't like it a whole lot purely because of it's big sherry flavors. But I actually like it for exactly those reasons.

It's a sherry bomb. It knows it's a sherry bomb. It's cask strength. And not just any cask strength. It's 60%. It's not making any excuses. In fact it's letting you know if you don't like it you can suck it's cork.

Nose: Bitter chocolate and dark plums. Big fat raisins mixed with black peppercorns. Red grapes on top of pancakes smothered in maples syrup. This is such a huge sherry nose. I really like it. Simply because it is unashamed.

Palate: So true to the nose. Bitter chocolate. Black pepper. Maple syrup. Dark chocolate. It's impossible to hold it without your eyes watering. In a good way.

Finish: Insanely long. Cherries. Red licorice. Black pepper.

My only beef with Glenfarclas is that I couldn't tell the difference between this and the 20 year old 105 - which costs three times the amount. If you want my advice buy three of these bad boys instead of the 20 year old.

I would be interested to see a taste test between a recently bottled 105 and one for a few years ago. I think that Glenfarclas is slipping in quality, which is too bad. I also think it ironic that Glendronach tends to go up in quality as Glenfarclas goes down and vice versa. When Glendronach and Benriach were so-so, Glenfarclas was spot-on. Now, Farclas has slipped and Dronach and Benriach are going up. Coincidence? Probably, but still interesting nonetheless.

@rigmorole interesting comparison. I'd love to test it out. Though I'm not sure how I can get my hands on an old one.

B

Glenfarclas is a fantastic distillery in my books. Still family-owned, it churns out whisky of dependable, excellent quality, and their '105' bottling is no exception. Running a whopping 60% alcohol and bottled without chill filtration, this is gigantic whisky and that only makes it all the more appealing to me.

Immediately upon nosing a glass of this stuff you're hit by how powerful it is. Dark, almost-burnt caramel,intense dark woody spices (cinnamon, clove, maybe a touch of star anise?), milk chocolate, raisins, dates, black cherries, sherry tannins, and a little hint of pear in the back. The nose is buttery-rich, intense, and decadent. It's a touch hot without water but not nearly as much so as you might expect from a 120-proof drink.

On the palate, there's a viscous, rich, oily quality to this stuff that I absolutely love, and it arrives with a bang. Dark caramel, spice, ginger, dried red fruits, chocolate, faint touches of smoke, barley sugars, and a really nice toasty/biscuity quality all interweave nicely, leading to a long, fairly dry finish with warm spices, oak, toasted nuts, and tannins. Remarkably little alcohol burn going down, which speaks volumes as to the quality of the whisky in my opinion.

Among the 'sherry monster' whiskies, this is a real standout. Keeping flavors as massive as the ones in this whisky in balance can't be an easy task, but Glenfarclas 105 is easily up to the task- it's sinfully rich, complex, and delicious.

@vanPelt

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.

With water:

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.)

I really like this better than Abunadh, especially with the addition of water. In fact, I add a lot of water, a little at a time, as the palate changes with water and time. This makes it an interesting whisky to drink if you are willing to take the time to do this, as it takes about an hour or more for me to finish a dram. I prefer it in the colder months, though as its too strongly sherried to deal with in warmer times.

Thanks @Taco, yes clearly this would just depends on personal preferences-- but it also depends on batch! (Which A'bunadh you are comparing to...) I think the preference is marginal for me. Thanks for the suggestion, I am also a slow drinkiner and I do agree that taking the time with water enriches the experience, but I have not considered this a winter dram. I think I'd pull it out around the equinoxes. I'll have to wait and see in several months...

@WhiskyAndMe

I've both heard and read very nice things about this expression from Glenfarclas.. however for me this one was all about the Sherry .... that's where it begun and that's where it ended.. if you fancy that a lot then you probably love it as much. Can't say that about myself though...

Nose: The beginning is like your nose was run over by a Sherry Train.. wow so much of it!! Along with it comes notes of dark chocolate.. bold spices...pears...possibly some wood and vanilla in there too..

Palate: The palate's like a continuation of the sherry dominance.. although not as dry as you'd expect it to be.. there's the characteristic sweetness .. with a lot of black pepper and cinnamon spices.. there was also some nutty notes in the mix

Finish: This was a Sherry story so every aspect of this expression had profound influence from the cask.. the finish too was drying .. fairly long.. and spicy too.. some where in there were also hints of mild smoke in the background

To be honest.. its a decent dram but.. definitely didn't get me going wow about it. However given all the awards that this has won.. I'm very tempted to have to give it another shot.. and this time with some watering down to probably get some of that magic that I missed this time around..

@Taco... In all likelihood you are right.. and I would need to give this expression another chance with some water..I guess I was caught off guard by the profound impact that the Sherry had on this.. but I hope round 2 will be a much better experience..

This one needs lots of water, not for the alcohol, but for the extreme sherry. I keep a bottle of this and GlenDronach 15 around, as I really enjoy both. The 105 changes a lot with water, improving as it sits. This is a dram you need a spoon, water and time. I'll take up to 1 1/2 hours to finish one dram, especially since I add so much water.

@hunggar

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.

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.

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.

@tjb

This is a classic cask strength sherry bomb from Glenfarclas. This is non chill filtered, no caramel colouring added and approximately 10 years old stored in Oloroso Sherry casks.

The colour is mid pale gold.

The nose is big, complex, sweet, sherry, oaky with luscious ripe dark fruits.

The palate is just like the nose, big, drying, dates, spices rolling, oak tang and sherry from start to finish.

The finish us long, warming, spiced and wonderful.

A bottle of this, an open fire and a power cut would suit me just fine.

I would recommend adding a drop of water as this beast kicks when at full strength and the water really brings out the best.

@Georgy

NOSE (takes some water and time to open it up): creamy, big toffee note, honeyed hazelnuts, fruit cake covered with sugar powder, syrupy cherries and cola.

TASTE: very rich and mouth-coating, toffee, sherry sweet, nutty, spicy, a bit of cola.

FINISH: long, warming, toffee with a hint of cherries at the end.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: rich on the nose, rich on the palate, rich everywhere!! An excellent dram!

Glenfarclas 105 is an excellent single malt whiskey; however, be careful not to consume too much as the powerful alcohol content will render you "shit-faced" in short order. You can feel the power of this whiskey as it goes down and leaves you with a hot feeling that you just drank pure firewater -- and you definitely like it. (LOL)

R

Tasted both Glenfarclas 105 and Aberlour A'bunadh recently. I favor the 105. My rating below is for the 105. I think someone who really likes bourbon would favor the A'bunadh. That's not me. I like scotch far more than bourbon. I also tasted the Glendronach 15 Revival for the first time. It's not as good as I thought it would be.

Frankly, I found all three of the aforementioned scotches lacked sophistication. I would gladly take a glass of Springbank 12 Claret wood over all three.

That's not to say I don't like the "triumvirate of sweet" that I mentioned upon opening this review. I do like them all, I just wasn't blown away by any of them. As for the Claret wood, well, frankly I was blown away by that one. A cut above, to be sure, and well priced when it was available for purchase.

I'm too overheated from the hot weather and tired to write up tasting notes today. I hope you all are having a nice summer. Time for a nap.

Hahaha i thought i was the only one who "tuned" blended my 12 and 105 'farclas's together, i can comfirm that this man is no crook it works sublimely, one of the best in-house vattings you could do, any proprotions work very very well but if you get it right... then that's it... Nirvana! Very good review, i also favor the 105 slightly to the a'bunadh although i find them very well matched, two modern classics really. But agree that the 105 is underrated and the A'bu. rather overrated, furthermore the 105 has been way more stable, quality-wise

I think the 105 is underrated on this site; likewise, I find the A'bunadh to be overrated on this site.

105 is a match made in heaven to vat with Glenfarclas 12. Try it! You won't be disappointed! Experiment until you suit the blend to your taste. The end result is nothing less than stellar, IMO. You can stretch out the 105, with room to spare, on three bottles of "souped up" 12 Year. Kind of like turbo charging your Jetta. Don't knock it, until you've "driven it," so to speak.

@PeatyZealot

Currently, Im lucky to own both the Glenfarclas 12yo and the 105. I thought it would be fun to make a little comparison. The 105 turns out to be the older muscular brother with a big car, while the 12 is a little more intelligent and subtle.

Nose: Without water, don't come too close to the glass, it's HOT! Fresh vanilla bread, dried red fruit, toffee, raisin, chocolate cookies. Oh, and did I mention it was hot? Well it is! So maybe not thé best beginners Scotch:p With water it cools down a little and green rummy fruitnotes appear. Nice!

Palate: Not as alcoholic as I expected, quite gentle at this high octane volume, but with a full teaspoon it still gives me hickups haha. In the arrival it Nice sweet barley, roasted nuts, nutmeg and cloves, and actual sherry. bit of bramble fruit, medium oak and almost no smoke or charr. It stays quite clear in the mouth while it keeps delivering lots of flavor.

Finish: Quite long for its age, I'm guessing between 10-12yo. Not very complicated, it gets a little creamy and nutty with some nice dry wood lingering on on the back of the tongue. I feel I'm getting ready to enjoy the 15yo at its fullest now:) So far, this distillery did'nt let me down one bit. Well made, tasty whisky!

@Volks

A big full on, no nonsense whisky from speyside gaints Glenfarclas. Bottled at cask strength, non chill filtered and taylor made for a sweet tooth like me.

  • Nose: rich, buttery, fat, caramel, toffee, butterscotch cough sweets. With Water even more cough sweets, but it’s also fruitier, pears and raisins also a note of Kirsch (cherry liqueur).

  • Pallet: Kirsch again, milk chocolate, light tannins and a sprinkle of peat, plenty of caramel and toffee here too. With Water pear note comes through again, all the sweet stuff from the nose, peat seems to have gone away, but it’s much fruitier.

  • Finish: the fruity pear note really lasts well and thankfully it ends slightly dry rather than sickly sweet. With Water dryer still, and spicier.

  • Mark neat – 8.4, with water – 8.6

I was expecting more from this whisky, while admittedly i am a sweet tooth this is a bit too much, its too sweet, rich and fat, i think it would be better if it were to be more balanced. For me this whisky is competing with the A'bunadh and for me the 105 is not quite as good.

L

Allways been fond of glenfarclas, partly because it is the last family owned distillery in scotland, but also for the quality of their malts.

My favourite has been the 105 ever since i first tasted it 6-7 years ago, the batch from last year i would probably describe as the best sherry-monster ive tasted thus far. This is this years batch, so let's see how the veteran holds up.

Nose: Immediately i am slapped in the face for my youthful insolence, as if being punished, for even temporarely doubting this malts resilient contradiction to the well-established thesis that is batch-quality variation. We all know that variations occur between batches, it's inevitable, question is, how big? Well the nose, as i said, contradicts the faint doubts i had directly by bathing my olfactory senses (my nose) with the most brutal yet sophisticated sherry noses one could wish for, as good, but slightly different than last years. Here you get a fabulous sherry nose with first ripe apples, oranges, jerez oranges, figues, dates. Then after the sherry tones comes salty butter toast, honey coffee beans, and dare i say even some faint tomatoe-sauce beans is this a british breakfast?? Finnish off with some lovely corianders, baking spices and peppers, wonderfull nose.

Palate: The arrival is an explosion of flavour. The sherry complexities assert themselves on the arrival even the buttery toast has a say, giving the whisky a body early on. Then taking over the body is a wonderfull biscuity/figue note alongside barley sugars. That developement is fabulous, the whisky juggles between the sherry fruits, the baking spices and barely sugar, figue... cake...almost?? Fantastic! There are so many layers to this whisky batch-to-batch, fascinating, a multi-layered quality your mind and palate has troubles to fathom at times.

The finish is also great, but this is where the 105 from yesteryear was better. This one's still very decent: A nutty complexity quickly replaced by rancio-wine and nearly port-red-wine sauce? Great indeed. This then leaves the finnish to some very good quality wood taninns, although the complexity of these tannins were greater in the previous 105.

All that said however, this 105 proves that this malt is the veteran amongst the very competitive club of Cask strength Sherry Bombs. It isn't as good as its older brother, but... that would be a lot to ask for...really. Fabulous whisky, still going strong.

@Lifewatersource -- I was considering the 105 for my next review, but now I needn't bother. You've said it all, and excellently so. Sherry, barley sugar, fruits...I get much of the same, and I also give it a 90 rating.

Therefore, my review amounts to: what he said.

Nice job.

Thanks! :) Allways fun sharing points of view on a particular whisky, especially as they can be remarkably similar. I am still working on my reviewing "skills" but very flattering so thank u. Hesitating between glendronach cask strength or this years 12 year old next..

J

Nose: considering the whiskys massive strength of alcohol the nose has little burn, very nice notes of sherry (pudding, plumb and raisins) some notes of rich butterscotch and dark honey as well as some almond nuts and creamy caramel.

Palate: silky smooth with a sweet sap like prickliness, notes of desert spice (vanilla, nutmeg and clove) large amounts of dark caramel, almonds and other roast nuts, some high cocoa content dark chocolate, candied orange peel.

Finish: very long and tangy, with some citrus, butterscotch, toffee and a slight nuttiness.

Perfect entry into cask strength scotch and a great whisky as well.

@Rantavahti

Glenfarclas 105 is cask strength and I have to say that drinking it without water was a bad experience. I always test my cask strengths without water first. Every now and then there's cask strength that tastes good without water, like for me, Big Peat's cask strength. But Glenfarclas 105 tasted horrible.

After some help from my sherry whisky loving friends, I got to taste a rather decent sherry whisky with added water. The key factors were not to but too much of it (of course) and to leave it alone for 15-20 minutes.

This time my movie reference is there just because it was a bit of positive shock, that this was so nicely and mildly sherry like. I liked it as much as I can like a sherry influenced whisky. Bottle Shock the movie tells a story of putting American wine to the map, so it has no relation for Glenfarclas 105 whatsoever.

Nose: Sherry and oak with apples.

Taste: I'm not a fan of sherry bomb whiskies so I was delighted that this had a smooth sherry taste. Mildly spicy fruits and raisins.

Finish: After water has been added and it's been left for 15 minutes to open up, the finish gets very smooth and nice. I'd say it's medium in length. Spicy, oily and fruity.

Balance: This was ok for my taste so it must be good for sherry diggers. Well balanced with taste and finish being the best parts. Just not my type of whisky to get 80+ points.

@GregLogan

Someone s/b making a comment here - come'on we are talking GF105.... classic, standard.... Is there really a better Cask Strength??? OK, limited experience says, "NO" however, that is only based on Mac and Ardbeg - and both are surpassed with the GL105 - as long as you like good, clean, complex, (ok, non-smokey), scotch....

More than fun!!!!!

(BTW - just to be fair, there are dynamics other than the perfection of the taste which I believe provide some merit. Yes, all the cask strength expressions that I have had - more or less listed above with Nadurra in the wings - have had their own uniqueness about them....

GF105 is NOT to be overlooked - I am absolutely sure in this instance!

Best, Greg

So, having tried it, it doesn't come close to best CS whisky I've tried. A'Bunadh, Springbank Claret Wood, Amrut CS, and, Oh my(!), Caol Ila 58%....

Im looking at it as a first timer though, we'll see what happens when i hit the second dram of the mini....

I look forward to another encounter with this bottle with my two years of experience... though at the present rate (and inventory), I don't expect anything before this time next year...:-)

n

From a 50mL mini

Nose: Rather like a 10-15 year Demerara rum. Some caramel and coffee. Also a very slightly salty sherry profile of red berries. Also tart like an aged balsamic vinegar. Winey, thick, and delightful.

Palate: Approachable neat, and surprisingly calm and still warming. More obviously on sherry here than the nose, burned sugar, and Arabica coffee grinds. Less discernible fruit, with caramel and fudge.

With water Nose: less aggressive sherry. Trucks full of dates. Cigar wrappers and older rum. Caramel. Delicious.

Mouth: Some coffee and chocolate. Unsweetened, boozy strawberry jam. Still, a spirity and off-sweet quality permeates, akin to an old and dark fruit cake.

Finish: coffee, chocolate, bitter orange liqueur, dark coffee cake with stale candied fruit. B+ (87).

It makes me really wonder what the new 20 year 105 is like. I wish that I could get my greedy lil' paws on that!

Someone s/b making a comment here - come'on we are talking GF105.... classic, standard.... Is there really a better Cask Strength??? OK, limited experience says, "NO" however, that is only based on Mac and Ardbeg - and both are surpassed with the GL105 - as long as you like good, clean, complex, (ok, non-smokey), scotch....

More than fun!!!!!

I

Colour: nice golden maple syrup Nose: On nosing the first time a lot of sulphur struck me, with sherry peering through. The second snif was much better, lots of sherry this time, dried fruit, raisins, honey and flowers. Very deep, loads of sweet tones, caramelized spices and honey again, again loads of sherry and port as well, some chocolate as well. Would be very good to match with a nice chocolate dessert, probably because it reminds me of port. Taste: Quite strong, very alcoholic as well, not unexpected with 60% abv. Quite burning and overwelming. The moment I thought the taste would be gone, a second wave with loads of spices comes through. After adding a drop of water more fruit appears on the nose, caramelized apple. The taste is more balanced, loads of dried fruit, spice and raisins again, honey as well. Chocolate. Not a very long taste and a bitter alcoholic taste lingers through quite soon. Finish/Complexity: Although the complexity is quite promising on the nose, the taste and finish are not as developed. A bit of spice, some honey, influence of the sherry. Quite some chocolate as well, without the sour/bitter tones of very dark chocolate. After a very long time, some aftertaste of rasped carrot comes through quite firmly. Overall a fine dram, very nice to the nose but the tasting complexity is not what I had expected.

Might be of interest to some: My 5cl miniature was bottled on 11-05-2010

@jwise

Not sure what happened to my previously written review. I guess I'll try to re-type it up:

The Glenfarclas 105 is considered an "overproof" whisky, not necessarily a true "cask strength", as the whisky is diluted down to 60%. True cask strengths vary in their ABV with each batch, as they are bottled at the same ABV as it was naturally in the cask. You can check Aberlour A'Bunadh batches which have unique cask strengths, or even Macallan Cask Strength which varies by bottlings.

The whisky is pretty light colored, perhaps a golden "pale straw".

Nose: Dried berry fruits, ripe sliced peaches, sherry, and a bit of spice.

Body: Heavy in the mouth, with a warming sensation. In this way, it is very much like the Mac CS.

Palate: Spice hits hard in the front. The semi-sweetness is present, but it is not overly sherried like I would have expected. Slightly oaky and nutty.

Finish: Pretty short, with spice coming out.

The nose is the best part of this whisky. I really enjoy the sweet, fruity and spicy aromas. I could nose this whisky all night. It is really too bad the aromas on the nose are not consistent through the palate and finish.

This is really a good thing, as Glenfarclas 105 is actually the most expensive bottle of the three whiskies that are usually compared to each other: The Glenfarclas 105, Aberlour A'Bunadh, and Macallan Cask Strength. The respective prices I usually see on the shelves are as follows: $75-80, $62, $56. However, my opinion of the three would be: A'Bunadh, Mac CS, Glenfarclas 105. So all in all, I'm pretty happy that I decided to try the Glenfarclas 105 as a 3cl sample from Master of Malt instead of purchasing the whole bottle.

This whisky is far from a bad whisky, it just isn't my favorite of the three sherried cask strength whiskies on the market. If given a bottle, I would gladly drink it empty.

I liked it almost as much as the A'Bunadh and certainly found it most agreeable, similar but different

@markjedi1

The third Glenfarclas from the core range (after the 10 and 15 year old) is this '105'. The number refers to the fact that it's 'overproof' with an ABV of 60%. The bottle has no age statement, but I've been told it's at least 10 years old. It was first released in 1968, which was something of a milestone as that was the first time ever that a cask strength whisky was released. In 2008 a 40 Year Old version of the '105' was released.

It is no surprise that the nose is very sweet: oloroso sherry, demerara sugar, figs, red berries, toffee and skin of oranges. But it also has something meaty. I get nuts as well. If you wait long enough, you'll get a lot more fruit: apples, pears and even melon! There is a lot going on here.

The nose translates perfectly into taste, with a sharp kick to the roof of the mouth upon delivery (from the high ABV and some chili peppers and ginger). Boy... this is nice. A lot of oak as well, but it never gets bitter.

The finish is warm and long, but dries the mouth completely.

This is a fruity top whisky, to be sure. But I have to admit that - like the Aberlour a'bunadh - I find it a bit too powerful. Adding water is no must, but I would recommend it. Diluting brings out the fruity character with dades and raisins.

I just reviewed a 3cl sample of this whisky. I'm glad I got to taste it for a reasonable sample price instead of the full bottle price, as I prefer the A'Bunadh and even the Mac CS much better than the 105.

Thanks for the review. I am reminded of port from the nose with all of the fruity and nutty notes.

@OJK

Nose, Taste, Finish and Balance are graded out of 2.5 each:

Nose: An immediate waft of sulphur, as if we'd just walked into a room after someone had a lit a match. Sulphur of course being commonly associated with sherry cask finishes, however here it's actually very pleasant. Underneath the sulphur waft we have a thick layer of toffeed lychees and candied nuts, all swimming in a bath of carrot juice. A very complex and intriguing nose. 2.0

Taste: A warm and enveloping aniseed oil, infused with apple and oak. There is a Werther's Original (hard butterscotch candy) feel to it, and as we hold the whisky on the palate for a little longer, there's the distinct flavour of wine-poached pears. Once again very intricate and engaging. 2.0

Finish: There is a health-smoothie quality to the finish, with notes of wheatgrass and carrot juice once again coming through. Some macadamia nuts have been whipped into the smoothie for added weight, and as the finish continues to grow, the toffee notes come back to the fore, leaving us with a long-lasting macadamia nut brittle to savour. 2.0

Balance: This whisky is quite difficult to pin-down and is constantly morphing into something else. When I came back to the glass after being away from it for a few minutes, I nosed it again and it had taken on an uncanny similarity to a warm rice wine or Japanese Sake. Yet ten minutes later when I nosed it again it had changed characteristics completely, and become a bag of sweet popcorn and Italian christmas cake. A cultured and versatile dram, with a huge amount of depth and character. 2.5

Absolutely classic. Lovely dram.

@peatsmoker

This is a muscular malt. Big in every way: Big Sherry, Big Toffee, Big Raisin, Big Alcohol. This is like the 15yr on steroids! But with just as warm a heart. This is Jimi Hendrix and the 15 is Segovia. Both creative, soulful forces of nature but maybe one was more sheltered as a child. Another sherried tour de force. Classic Speyside. Try this with as little water as you can stand and the richness will be your reward!

Love the 'Farclas 105 it's a brute of a Speyside

@Kalekas

This is not a conventional review. A few years ago I returned to Jamaica with wifie for another visit to hedonistic Negril. We met up with old acquaintances who swore by their Appleton Overproof Rum. I countered with a half bottle of Glenfarclas, Cask Strength.

Never mind the nose, body or palate, it made their eyes pop and, I swear I saw a trickle of smoke coming out of their ears. It´s a brute of a drink taken without water! Nippy as hell, then the sweetness after. Whenever I taste it, I´m taken back to an evening on a boat off the cliffs of Negril´s West End with good, if slightly incapacitated, friends

It's always good to get a 'war story' on a dram. Part of the experience of drinking is the atmosphere in which it is drunk. Keep them coming.

I like this review!

@galg

usually i am a peat head, but from time to time i enjoy a sherry bomb. i love powerful malts, and this one is no slouch. it's powerful.

Nose: Toffee,Raisins dipped in liquor, oak.

Palate: Sherried fruits,major alcohol impact. can you spell OOOOOOMPH!, it fills your mouth, nose will hot, exploding sherry. this one is for cold winter nights. spice.

Finish: very long, warming finish. smooth. lingering.

with water: the sweet flavours and oak are revealed even more.

this CS malt should be drunk at this strength in my opinion. i usualy dont like to add water to those robust CS.

Winter is coming our way, stock up a few of the 105 for those cold nights. you won't regret it.

as a side note, there is also a 105 version of the 40 year old GF, but the price is a bit steep for me. should be an even better malt, which is mind blowing.

Slainte!

The 'farclas 105 is one of my absolute favorites. All the power and intensity but without any of the rough edges.

Nice review - after this and @WhiskyNotes comment - this is added to my wishlist.

@WhiskyOClock

Cask strength punch with the expected smoothness and balance of Glenfarclas. I find this dram much easier to tame down the alcohol with some water compared to Aberlour a'bunadh. Toning down the alcohol really lets this malt shine. Full flavored with touches of sweetness, fruit, spice, and sherry on the palate. If you find a'bunadh a little too sherried and alcoholic, then Glenfarclas 105 should hit the spot, even with a slight sacrifice of complexity. At cask strength, a good value for the money.

This is fantastic value for money with a great taste, really takes your breath away but with some great notes coming out with water, second favorite cask only behind the A'bunadh.

i took a bottle of this to iceland in winter (the country, not the supermarket). drunk neat it gives you the old ready brek glow that'll keep the chilliest northern winds at bay. a true classic.

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