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Before we get stuck in to the review a little bit of background preamble is required for this particular bottle . . .
You may notice that this bottle is from Nov 2013 and has sat in my stash for a good chunk of the time that has elapsed between then and now. Around four years ago I bought another 'farclas 12 but had some issues with the cork. Long story short, Masters of Malt replaced the bottle, which was very good of them, but what was even better was that they encouraged me to 'dispose' of the former bottle as and how I saw fit! Amazingly, I decided to drink the bottle (some creative make shift corks were employed and I learned the valuable lesson to always have spare corks to hand!) rather than pour it down the sink . . . Anyway, the whisky was good and was probably one of my first trys of a sherried whisky after a few of the Aberlours. I can't be sure but have a feeling the bottle being reviewed here was from an earlier batch than that one.
So, how will this one fare?
Review is neat, bottle half full and been open almost two months.
Nose - creamy, sweet sherry. Vanilla, a touch of smoke and some faint leather/old book notes. Worth noting that at first this was all sherry and not that appealing; the air and time have helped bring things into more of a balance and soften the overt sweet, syrupy sherry that was prominent. There's concentrated fruit syrup (pomegranate?), fresh fruit - red berries like strawberries, cherries & raspberries, sweet plums and a hint of dried fruit - raisins and figs. Some soft spice - cinnamon and orange peel.
Taste - less sweet on the palette. The creamy malt comes forward and develops into sweet and sour fruits - more on the sweet side though. In particular, that pomegranate syrup comes through with a dark concentrated presence. Mouth feel is decent if a little on the thinner side.
Finish - short to medium. Sweet syrup lingers with some mild tannins that dry the mouth quite nicely - not much bitterness here at all but there is a slight note of cinnamon at the death.
When I first opened this I honestly thought someone had poured sherry straight into the bottle to top it up! I've still never had a bad Glenfarclas but I'd have to say this is below par for them. It could be that my taste buds have changed (they've certainly tried many more whiskies since then) and I'm not really a fan of the overly sweet sherry style but this isn't as good as the last bottle I had; that was much nuttier and had more balance and complexity from memory - it certainly didn't hang around on my shelf for very long!
All of this feels a little moot though as I believe they are discontinuing the 12?! Not bad by any means but I would have always recommended the 12 as a good vfm sherried whisky - I wouldn't on this showing necessarily.
I've opted for a mark of 84 but that's as good as it's been since being open and my taste-buds feel 'on-point' this evening. First opened I'd have marked it 80, 81 at best.