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Glenfarclas 12 Year Old

Average score from 20 reviews and 76 ratings 83

Glenfarclas 12 Year Old

Product details

  • Brand: Glenfarclas
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 43.0%
  • Age: 12 year old

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Glenfarclas 12 Year Old

A recent review of this expression reminded me that I received a sample of this from @OdysseusUnbound back in 2017. I’ve wanted to try it for a while but I’ve not had an opportunity to sit down with it. Tonight, I got that opportunity.

The bottle was, if I remember correctly, a replacement for a tainted bottle he originally bought at the LCBO. His review can be found here:


The bottle was opened October 2017 and the sample poured, I believe, in November. This expression is reviewed in a Highland whisky glass in my usual manner, allowing it to settle after which I take my nosing and tasting notes, followed by the addition of just a few drops of water, waiting, then nosing and tasting.

Nose: 21.5/25

On first pour, fruity and sweet. Cherries. Slight vegetal quality. With time the pitch lowers a little bit, with a sour cherry note coming forward. Waiting a little longer, the sherry becomes quite prominent, and the vegetal note seems to diminish. A little bit of baking spice in the background. Adding water seems to make the nose slightly richer. (22/25)

Taste: 20.5/25

Rich arrival, sweet. Slight alcohol nip. Fruity. A little thin in the development. Not very complex. Water tones down the alcohol burn just a little, and the flavours become a little more complex. (21/25)

Finish: 19/25

Astringent, I get dryness but no flavour. Lasts a pretty long time. Water adds some sweetness to the finish. (20/25)

Balance: 20.5/25

The taste does not quite deliver what the nose promises. Maybe a little underpowered at 43%, and the complexity just isn’t there. Water improves it just a touch (21/25)

Score: Neat - 81.5/100 With Water: 84/100

Trader Joe’s Milk chocolate compliments it, but does not really improve it.

This isn’t bad. I had considered buying a bottle last year and I’m glad I didn’t, because I already have other whiskies that do a better job of anything this one is trying to do. This experience highlights the importance of a sample-trading network to cut down un-necessary expenses.

Thanks again @odysseusUnbound for this opportunity.

@OdysseusUnbound, well, just go out and buy 20 or 30 new bottles and you shouldn't have much trouble keeping a few of them around for a while. Yeah, I know, those bottles have gotten pricey, so 20 bottles will cost ya more than a little bit.

@Victor My wife is already unimpressed by the size of my.....collection. I’ve had to pump the brakes on my attempt to stockpile enough JP Wiser’s Dissertation to get me through the zombie apocalypse....


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.

@OdysseusUnbound - I noticed them after I'd posted this one, thanks - seems it's perhaps a variable malt in quality/batch terms but perhaps for reasons you outline. As said above, still yet to have a bad 'farclas and the 15 is excellent!

I wonder if maybe Glenfarclas is one of those malts that really benefits from getting a bit of air the bottle for a month or two to help it develop?

In the last couple of years I've had bottles of the 12 and the 15. Both times initially on opening I've been quite disappointed and felt there was sherry and not a lot else going on. But given time with air in the bottle I've noticed they've become a bit more complex with nuttiness, biscuit notes and even a slight hint of peat.

But then you've had this bottle open a while so maybe the batch variation is a bit off par?


this is an abbreviated version of today’s blog post

Some may remember my review of my first abominable bottle of this whisky. Needless to say, Glenfarclas went put of their way to make this right and I’m a happy camper.

Tasting notes

  • Nose (undiluted): a big hit of red grapes, bright sherry, a slight lemon note, some fresh tobacco and a very slight, almost imperceptible smoky note. I may have imagined the smoke.

  • Palate (undiluted): a hot arrival for a whisky bottled at only 43% ABV, medium-bodied, bright sherry, not too sweet, walnuts, raisins, a touch of milk chocolate and a bit of cloves.

  • Finish: medium length, a bit of caramel, more citrus brightness, and a bit more baking spices

Adding water toned down the tobacco on the nose and brought forth some green apple, a bit of toffee, and cinnamon. The taste with water was a bit less nutty and a bit spicier, but the mouthfeel was not as pleasant when diluted. Interesting for analysis, but when drinking strictly for enjoyment, I'll take it neat, thank you very much.

I'm not delusional. My first bottle really was spoiled, somehow. I'm also not arrogant enough to think that my blog could permanently damage a much-lauded brand. Not that I would want to use my (laughably limited) powers to such nefarious ends. From a business perspective, it makes more sense to keep customers happy than to ignore them. My first bottle of Glenfarclas 12 was undrinkable. Whether this was a faulty cork, improper storage by the LCBO, or some other ethereal alchemy is irrelevant. My whisky was bad and Glenfarclas has handled this situation as well as any business could.

I’ve kept my review of this second bottle as objective as possible. I like this whisky. I think it would be better with a few more years in the cask. I think this 12 Year Old would go from good to great if it was 15-16 Years Old and if it was released at 46% to 48% ABV. My impression of Glenfarclas as a brand and business is high. My impression of this bottle of 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch is very good, but not great. At the current LCBO price, however, there are few bottles that can rival it. I like it better than Glendronach 12, but not as much as Aberlour 12 Double Cask.

@Victor It might last at least a year, maybe more. I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that a bottle of Ardbeg Uigeadail will be finding its way to my cabinet soon. I’ll likely add a bottle of A’Bunadh (batch 58) before my birthday (Dec 10) as well. There are a few more bottles on my “to get” list, and while I like this Farclas, I don’t have to hold myself back the way I do/did with Dissertation, Laphroaig 10, Ardbeg 10 and my Lagavulin(s).

@OdysseusUnbound Nice review. I think 85 points is about right, although I would give it 83. The reason for that is that the 15 is at least 88 for me and IMO it is a huge step up from the 12 and considerably better than the 17. Glad you are feeling better about Glenfarclas now.


Full disclosure, I only had 3 drams of this before returning it to the LCBO

Glenfarclas was one of those whiskies on my “must try” list. It seems to be one of the cool kids’ darling distilleries. They’re fairly tough to find in my area so I scooped up a twelve year old when I found it. When I first opened it, I was disappointed. Thin and watery with an odd, musty undertone on the nose and an odd sharp bitterness on the arrival. It also felt odd, like it was carbonated (fizzy). After a few weeks, the nose seemed to improve a bit, but the “fizzy vinegar” impression remained. I wanted to be optimistic, but I’m just not patient enough (or not wealthy enough) to leave the bottle for several months (years?) and hope it gets better. Here is my best attempt to make sense of my tasting notes:

  • Nose: red grapes, some honey, an ill-defined sour note, mustiness (old basement?)

  • Palate: sharp, bitter arrival (grapefruit pith?), effervescent (fizzy, not in a good way), very thin-bodied, a bit of red fruit

  • Finish: cheap balsamic vinegar, stale dates, an off-putting sour note lingers. Unpleasant.

I don’t know what to say. I wanted this to be good. I wanted to be positive. But this was a miss. A week after contacting Glenfarclas, I have yet to hear a response. I will post any answers I get here.

It is good to hear about the failures too. Thanks for your review, @OdysseusUnbound.

I thoroughly enjoyed both the 12 and 15yo. Wonder what happened to this one.


Picked this one up in November of 2015 and popped it open tonight.

Nose - Sweet and woody fresh ripe oak coupled with strong hints of dried fruit and raisins. Moving along we get butterscotch with grapes on the side. Add to that some brown sugar, and big sherry with the slightest hint of char and extremely faint smoke. This is one potent and sweet nose.

Palate - Woody, sweet arrival packed with those fruits, raisins, grapes, berries and lemony honey. What was in the nose is VERY much reflected in the palate.

Finish - Fairly long. Slightly dry, yet sweet, oaky wood, with a trailing of light spice and warmth.

Conclusion: It's a dessert dram. It's packed with sweetness throughout, almost like some sort of syrup. I would drink this daily if it wasn't for the price. Quality stuff, from start to finish you will not be disappointed. (This review was written 3 drams in ;) )

Left it out for 1.5 hours, took a sip and all of a sudden huge coffee note coming through. Never had this happen. Chocolate, creamy coffee. The finish includes this as well. Very interesting.


Ok...bare with me. Think of a light-fluffy pastry with a tad of honey,stuffed with over-ripen pears,prunes, raisins, milk chocolate and some sawdust, salt, nutmeg, and white pepper sprinkled on top. The finish is long,slightly smokey, and keeps your mouth oily-coated long after you've swallowed. Its big and robust, thanks to the largest, direct fire stills in Scotland. All this from a 12 yr old! I'm impressed.This is really good. Its on my top three 12yr old single malts,easily!


The Glenfarclas 12 Year Old can undoubtedly be seen as the entry level malt from this Speysider. Originally it was sold through the duty free range, by the way.

Soft and very sherried nose full of fruits. Dried apricots next to fresh pastry with marshmallows. Really sweet. Soft spices. Evolves towards quite a bit of caramel. Werther's Originals. Mildly floral as well. After ten minutes it turns into candied sugar.

Rather light body with just a little bit of spice. Tannins, yes. Liquorice. Ginger too. Then some Turkish Delight, candied oranges and fresh figs. Hints of nuts.

Medium lengt finish that is drying towards the end.

A very docile, run of the mill Glenfarclas. Good introduction to the style of the distillery.


Bought the 12 after being very delighted with the very pleasing sample i had in 09, but waiting for, more cash-margin and a particularly good year to snap up a bottling. 2011 was a busy and very good year for most single malt distillers and costumers. This is one malt that contributed. Many lyrical reviews about this one, this year especially, and yes i do agree with them. But without giving to much away, let's dive into this.

Nose: Fresh minty and syrupy malt. Apples and pears with some rhubarb on the side. Collection of mints, natural caramel and even mint cake then, finally, some fine Italian grappa.

Palate: Perfectly balanced suggestive light (but juicy and pungent) sherry, with some malt syrup and spearmint/menthol making up the arrival. Busy, busy and tasty! Cider-vinegar and super-lush malt. Sage and ginger. Cough mixture, honey and superb "mintiness".

Finish: Aromatic sherry with apples, apple-mint and apple cider wooo! Calms down a bit with a salivating water-melon with a malt/menthol note hanging on in the background.

A good malt just got even better. This 12 year old really defines the distillery menthol-flavour. It also gets a bit of sherry influence whilst retaining the syrupy, dynamic malt from the 10 year old. This is a great "coming back to the roots" malt for all Glenfarclas admirers. Must be tasted, should never be forgotten. The soul of the distillery in a bottle.


The reviewed bottle has been open for 2 years, and is 95% full. Gas was used for preservation starting 11 months ago

Nose: that typically very clean Glenfarclas sherry wine flavour is the dominant flavour; after 24 months this has become mellower, ie less pointed, and also rounder, and maybe even richer. Flavours from malt and wood are certainly there, too, but they stay pretty much in the background...with every Glenfarclas I have ever tried. The intensity of the nose is rather strong. Water brought out confectioner's sugar and slightly broadened the flavours further

Taste: clean grape in the nose goes to clean grape on the palate. The nose translates well to the palate, and the biggest observation I would make is that a lot of air has made the sherry cask flavours rounder, mellower, and at least equal in richness. I prefer this with a lot of air. Water slightly muted the sherry flavours, which gave a very pleasant result

Finish: just sits there a long time and stays the same, eventually doing a gradual taper off; water added lengthened the finish and further broadened the flavours

Balance: Glenfarclas is a sherry-lover's Scotch. Among the various disilleries' sherried expressions, Glenfarclas seems to have among the highest quality control over the sherry casks which they use. There is no Sulphur here whatsoever. If you like the sherried malts, then this is your bread and butter. Now if you don't want your whisky to taste of wine, you may not be a fan of this style. I like it fine, when I am in the wine mood, but Glenfarclas is about as wine-y as it gets in the Scotch world. I liked this bottle OK when I first bought it, but ignored it because I liked the Glenfarclas 15 yo so much better. I am currently liking this 2 year old Glenfarclas 12 YO better than I liked my bottle in its first year after the bottle was opened

I had bottles of Aberlour 12 and Glenfarclas 12 a few years ago. Thought I liked the Aberlour more, but then did a HTH. Wow! I had to repeat with new clean glasses to be sure. Against my expectations, I definitely preferred the Glenfarclas! I analyzed the results and realized I must have been influenced by the presentation. Aberlour has an impressive and slick bottle while Glenfarclas is in a frumpy old style bottle. Interesting what tricks your mind plays. Shows that good marketing can overcome lesser product quality.

I would be curious to know how the Glendronach 12yo would compare to the Aberlour 12yo and Glenfarclas 12yo. I would imagine it comes down to the little things that appeals to one's personal taste and preferences.


At first site, diluted copper. It's legs drop down the wall of the glass with patience but determination. Medium in width.

On the nose: As the dram waits for it's drinker, she tries to seduce him by releasing aromas to fill the surrounding air. Big. Right away, toffee, bitter chocolate and prunes blanket, then oak seeps through it's pores. They all quickly blend into a perfectly balanced dessert.

The palate: Liquid caramel, the prunes enter. Dry but persistent. Fresh oak macerated. A touch of raw anise.

Finish: Long, sweet and mellow.

Conclusion: Perfectly balanced, baked with love.


Glenfarclas is one of my all-time favorite distilleries. They have the ability to infuse their whiskies with a wonderful richness and complexity, yet they are always balanced and smooth. They can take a multitude of component flavours and make them work so harmoniously that it’s almost absurd. With the 15 year old and the 105 being two of my preferred drams, I wanted to see how the 12 measured up.

Nose: Oddly enough, I’m first hit with a scent that’s somewhat reminiscent of white wine. Sweet citrus, pears, green apples, and raisins, and ginger. There are some lovely malt, honey, and wood notes, as well as briny sherry notes. This nose stands on its own. Very tangy and briny, but also creamy and sweet. Yes, that sounds contradictory. But this is Glenfarclas. Balance is their thing. Good nose.

Palate: Quite sweet, and not as tart or salty as the nose suggested. Very creamy mouthfeel. In fact, there’s a somewhat fizzy texture to this. The texture and candied sweetness remind me of soda somewhat. Ginger ale, more specifically. Candied apple, light caramel, toffee, milk chocolate, citrus, and ginger. Sherry flavours dance about in the background, but aren’t nearly as pronounced as they are in the 15. Rich and complex.

Finish: Quite long and sweet. There’s a wonderful mild spice that ushers us into the finish. The salt from the body all but disappears, and we’re left with spice, candied apple, and sweet sherry notes. I’m reminded of the sherry notes in the 15 here, albeit less pronounced.

This is a truly unique dram. I’m such a huge fan of the 15 that when I first nosed this, I was a bit disappointed that it was so dissimilar to its fantastic older brother. But, the further I delved into the 12, the more I realized that this is a truly special and wonderful departure. It bounces between candied sweetness and salt seamlessly, and it’s got a creamy, fizzy texture and a smooth spiciness, too. While I can comfortably label the 15 as a top-notch sherry bomb, I’m at a loss as to where to place this. It defies labels, as there are so many seemingly inconsistent flavours. So what is this stuff? All I know is that Glenfarclas = balance. Wonderful.


My "stats" are starting to tell me that Glenfarclas is the way to go, if I want to taste good sherry flavored whiskies. Usually I haven't liked much of the ones that have a big sherry influence (mainly they've been from the Macallan range before Glenfarclas).

Glenfarclas came out swinging like Rocky Balboa in the first movie of the Rocky trilogy. Well, Rocky won "The master of disaster" Apollo Creed not until the second movie but you know what I mean. And I know that Glenfarclas isn't a new distillery either but I had only heard great things about Macallan. That's why Glenfarclas was the underdog for me.

Glenfarclas 12 year old offered me a new approach in sweet sherry whiskies. Like Rocky, it gave me hope for it's kind. No, I'm not talking about white people as it would be humorously easy to interpret. For me Glenfarclas seemed like the forgotten one who got the chance to be somebody. And it was more than just somebody.

Nose: Limber and light. Oak and sherry are subtly in the background for the sweet honey.

Taste: Malt, toffee and sherry with an earthly and smoky feel.

Finish: Nice and long. Spicy and fruity with warming sherry. Oranges and cinnamon are the main characters.

Balance: Well balanced. Nicely subtle with a big lasting finish. There is a big sherry influence but I still like it, weird...

GF 15 is the way to go if you can get it. Judging by the ratings and comments, GF 12 is mediocre compared with the 15. For me, GF has a richness not present in the Macallans, which seem to me to be a bit less of a challenge. I really do like the Macallans but GF 21 and 25 blow away anything under a Macallan 18 to me. And IMO the Mac 18 is overpriced even though it's great. I've tasted it in bars several times but never invested in a bottle. I own a GF 21. I would love to try the GF 40. That's my "must try" at some point in the future.

Hi Rantavahti,

I wonder, have you ever tried the Farc 10 and 12 side by side? I'm thinking of doing that at a bar near me. Most people favor the 10. I've tasted the 9.5 and the 12 but not the 10. I also have not tasted the 105, which I'm quite curious about. Can't buy the 15 in Oregon, unfortunately. I was told by a liquor store employee that the 9.5 (MacTarnahan) was pretty much the same thing as the 10, but now I'm not so sure. I must find out very soon by tasting the 10 with the Farc label.

Great review, BTW. I would rank the Farc 12 above the Macallan 12. For me, the 12 has a phantom sweetness about it that is not exactly sweet but almost tastes sweet in the absence of bitterness. For the price here in Oregon, it's one of my favorites, especially in bars where is can be found fairly frequently.


Color: gold.

Nose: apples, pears, barley, and a hint of caramel.

Body: dry, rough, and chalky in the mouth.

Palate: very salty — almost overwhelmingly so — with a little ginger and lemon. It burns the tongue. Somewhere in the background there, I taste sweeter notes like dried apricots and prunes, some milk chocolate, and root beer candies. But the sour saltiness is definitely up front.

Finish: very long and kind of surprising. It starts very light before the burn builds up and bursts forth with a deep warming. The after-taste is very sweet and fruity, perhaps owing to the exit of the salt and sour from the palate.

This is a really dry whiskey, to the point of borderline unpleasantness. It is an interesting side trip, but given how closely it is priced to personal favorites like Macallan 12 or the Laphroaig Quarter Cask, I don't see myself going down this road twice.

I don't see how you can compare this dram to Laphroaig (other than sheerly the cost of a bottle) but certainly it is in the same general category as the Macallan 12. I like to keep a bare minimum of an Islay, a sherry bomb, a slightly smokey bitter-sweet bottle, and a unique "challenge" (like the Longrow CV or something equally puzzling) in my cupboard at any given time. Right now, I have way too many open bottles, but that is just a phase I'm going through.

As for my taste buds, I like the Farc better than Mac 12. To me, the Farc 12 has more depth of character and interesting flavor combinations. Macallan is predictable. Delicious and satisfying, certainly, but not very challenging or interesting.

Last Saturday night, I ordered a glass of the 12. The bartender must have liked me, because she practically poured a double. I enjoyed it very much, but was surprised by the simplicity of it. I have been drinking Farc 21 at home, which is not a fair comparison.

I ordered the Farc 12 in a bar a few weeks ago. I remember liking it quite a bit. Of course, I've had it, on and off, for years. In all fairness though the first glass of scotch that hooked me permanently on drinking scotch as my favorite alcoholic beverage was a Macallan 12, so I tip my hat in that direction.

Well over a decade ago, I would buy and enjoy the occasional bottle of Lagavulin, but scotch didn't stick back then as it has in the past five or six years. It's funny, too: back then, Lagavulin seemed milder to me. Not sure if it was or if that was just my impression back then. It certainly cost a lot less than it does now!

Thanks for your review. It's quite interesting to hear how others feel about "The Farc." I've always been surprised that the 12 wasn't rated higher. I would put it up around a good solid 85.

Yes, the Laphroaig comparison was purely a price thing. As a state employee, I have very limited Scotch funds, so price always comes into play for me.

In all fairness, I have not had the Macallan 12 in a long, long time. For instance, the last time I had the Macallan 12, I had never had an Islay! So it wouldn't surprise me entirely if the next time I pick up a bottle, I find it a little boring.


Significantly richer sherry colour. Bright vanilla and oak on the nose with maybe a hint of rancio.

Much more alcohol influence than the 10 year old although only 3% more alcohol. Lots of fire-y malt body with a slightly sweet and sour flavour.

79, eh? That seems about right, according to my taste-o-meter, as well. I will be interested to see how far up the "vertical" you get with your review series. I like the way you compare the 10 to the 12. Comparisons of the same distiller's different years is always interesting to hear about, especially when the glasses are side by side . . . but that is hard to do without a tasting group.

It's a great idea you have, Chris, to taste your way up the various ages of Glenfarclas. Very cool. I put a bit more water in the 12 than in the 10 what I drank them. I see you noticed the "heat" as well in the 12. Much more of an alcohol burn than in the 10.

I've been serving my bottle of 9.5 year Glenfarclas (released as The MacTarnahan) to guests and they all say they like it. It's just fine with some ice. The 10 is better, I think, and does not require ice. That half year seemed to have made a difference, probably in the way the whisky was aged and treated, as well, perhaps even before the last half year. Still, the 9.5 year is not horrible at all. It cost $30 for the bottle. A fair price for what you get, I think. The same price as Isle of Skye. I've not tried that one, though, but I've been curious about it.


This is a lovely 12 year old sherry matured whisky. It hits all the notes expected from a speysider. Very enjoyable, warming, relaxing, and sensual dram.

Nose: I initially take in strong hints of sherry (as expected), which then further's itself into dried fruits then warm fruits into a christmas cake, with all the sweet rich smells. Finally on the nose I sense creamy yet slightly bitter mocha that closes off to a very swift smokey peat. The nose to be is just short of exceptional.

Palate: The first taste fills the mouth with a christmas cake, the strong rich sherry and fruits warms the mouth. The christmas cake is quickly split by the zesty citrus of a lemon to allow the flavours to relax into a caremilised toffee flavour that retreats into a slightly bitter but well balanced olive flavour. This is to me a somewhat very pleasant balance of different flavours that compliment each other in a clever manner.

Finish: The finish of the sweet flavours from the begining are quite short lived and drowned out to allow the bitterness to come through, which is the reason this whisky is quite well rounded and easy to handle.

In summary, this whisky is a very well rounded, well balanced and clever dram. It is easy to drink without thinking too much but can be equally as enjoyable to break down the experience. I am certainly impressed with this one.... Enjoy!


So finally after months of trying to, my wife and I finally got a date night out. Now you might hear months of trying and go "sure, how much did you try?" Well my friends let me tell you!

My wife and I have been trying to go to this whisky bar called Helvetica. The first serious attempt was in February where I had a Monday and Tuesday off. So We make plans to head over Monday night, but we decide to give them a call first. We call and lol and behold they're closed Sundays and Mondays, and they open late on Tuesday so I can't go in early.

Second serious attempt my wife's and my year anniversary, I'm eagerly hoping that we'll be able to go there in celebration, problem: We're too poor as we just finished paying off all our debts and we literally have just enough money for a decent dinner and one dram of Talisker 10 yr old

Third serious attempt was just a couple weeks ago. I come down sick 4 days in advance of going, but manage to recover. However the day before we're supposed to go out and have our date night my wife comes down sick. No way I'm going to go out when she won't be able to taste what we're drinking. Thankfully my brother and sister in law who were going to join us decide to come over and bring his whisky collection for us to try. Huzzah for Epic brother in laws!!

Now there are many attempted plannings between attempts one and three, but something always comes up, either my wife has to work, I have to work, the dogs come down sick, etc.

Fourth and final serious attempt we make plans to go out a week in advance with my wife, brother in law, sister in law and a friend of all of ours. The day before we go out, our mutual friend develops a massive appendicitis infection and needs to have emergency surgery to have his appendix removed.

Sweet Baby Jesus!!

Someone, somewhere, REALLY does not want us to go to this whisky bar! We shall persevere though!

Our friend gives us his blessing and my wife and I continue with our plans to go to Helvetica.

We head into town and stop for dinner first. We're going to meet up with my brother and sister in law at Helvetica, but food first!!!

So we stop in an Italian joint and my wife orders a mojito, but I spy something very very nice that I haven't tried before.

Glenfarclas 12 yr old!!


Out it comes in a tumbler, but I can smell it from the table.

The nose: Almonds, caramel, raisins, and a touch of sherry. Almonds/raisins are what hits me first and it is quite lovely. Sherry and caramel sing in the background choir.

The Flavor: The fruits sing on the tongue! Raisins, chocolate, and saltiness dance around the tongue. There is a faint faint faint bite of the alcohol, but nothing too unpleasant.

The finish is not bad with the sherry and caramel singing through to the finish, but with some oak shouting out in a slightly unpleasant way with just a hint of smoking saving it from the oak.

My wife and I enjoyed this dram and it went quite nicely with my dinner and it felt like a good omen for the start of the evening as we left the restaurant to meet up with the in laws at Helvetica the whisky bar.

Now a bottle of Glenfarclas goes for around 90 dollars AUS at the local Dan Murphy's which seems like a fairly decent buy considering the quality of what I tasted.

Soon we arrive at Helvetica!

Someone really doesn't want you to drink whisky at that bar ;) Enjoyed your blog-like review once again. Btw I am personally looking forward to taste the Glenfarclas range. The 12, 15, 18, 21 and 105 proof are all very affordable here in germany and from what I read, I am going to like them ;)

Thank you for the kind words my friend! I'll be very interested in your reviews of them. Glenfarclas is one of those distilleries I've heard nothing but good things about!!


Nose: The initial sniff has a salty tinge to it, almost like brine. This brine then evolves into dried fruit like raisins and possibly dried prunes. While all this is going on there is a smooth sweet scent floating around the background playing with your nose. I didn't think that the nose was overly complex in any way.

Palate: There's no alcohol bite at all. You taste sherried dried fruits but that is swiftly overwhelmed by a large smooth and thick sweetness that coats your mouth. It's a chocolatey caramel flavour. Hints of vanilla and oak dance around on the taste buds just enough to let you know that they're there.

Finish: It's a medium finish for the chocolatey caramel flavour but the sherry undertones in the finish are long-lasting. After a minute those sherry undertones evolve into a somewhat nasty fermenting fruit flavour left in your mouth. Maybe this is reflective of it's age?

Overall: This is a young Speysider that has an excellent balance and is very sweet. It was a very smooth dram with it's flavours passing over my tongue in a silky way. It's not overly complex but just complex enough to keep it interesting for an experienced whisky drinker (although I'm still more of an amateur). I'm not a big Speyside fan but this is one excellent whisky. The only thing keeping this malt from being a 90 is the fact that the 15 year old is so much more excellent.


Nose: sweet sherried fruit, some sappy oak (which is good, but doesn’t sound that sexy) notes but no bitter cocoa/espresso notes here. Milk chocolate (Milka) a wee bit of lemon splashes in the background. This malt feels younger than the 15 year old. Fresh, more grassy (if you can say so about a sherry malt), and is very befitting the “Glenfarclas” name which as you remember from the last post stands for “Valley of the Green Grass”. Lovely nose. I really appreciated the absence of those ‘Balsamic vinegar’ notes that haunt me sometimes when sipping richer older sherried malts.

Palate: Luscious dried fruit, milk chocolate sweetness, spicy and even some traces of peat-smoke (mind you - we’re not in Islay mode!, very subtle peat which is fitting). There is also a very interesting "Salty" sensation after the initial dried fruit sweetness has gone, then on the finish the sweet fruit does a "comeback", which lingers.

Finish: Lingering Sherry, Smoke, some bitter oak and the remains of a distant short espresso with the dried fruits dying softly. Very well integrated finish.

Summing it all up:

As expected, a lovely dram. ‘Farclas has not let me down yet, and this time is no exception. Relatively fresh sherry, with the textbook oak,dried fruit, chocolate notes and easy on the bitter side. I can really recommend it to anyone who likes his sherry drams, but does not want to start off with a sherry bomb. In any other respect, a dram I really need to have handy on my bar next to the 15 and 105.

The current Glenfarclas range is definitely up there with the best of them at the minute. Every single expression pretty much hits the mark.

A very good whisky. Sweet and sherried. If you want to get that feeling you had the first time you tried Macallan 12yr, but your palate and experience has matured - this is your dram.


The Nose: Root beer float/vanilla cream soda and I mean that in the best way! Cream sherry, a little raisin-y, and a wisp of smoke. A rich and vibrant nose.

The Palate: Smoooooth, luscious mouthfeel. Sweet honey tones and sherry notes drift into nice oak-y-ness. It's perhaps just a little harsh and young towards the end (the start of the finish?).

The Finish: Medium long, oak-y. That faint harshness fades somewhat and some sherry comes back with a little chaser of smoke.

Thoughts: The Glenfarclas is rich and inviting and definitely has a traditional Speyside feel. I really enjoyed this one. Of special note, Glenfarclas is truly one of the original independent distilleries, having been owned and operated by the Grant Family since 1865, making it a inspiring oddity in a landscape of corporate-owned holdings.

Sounds awesome. Good review.

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