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Glenfarclas 15 Year Old

Oh Sherrie

9 2990

@RianCReview by @RianC

28th Dec 2017

0

  • Nose
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  • Taste
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  • Finish
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  • Balance
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  • Overall
    90

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

Glenfarclas has never disappointed even though heavily sherried whiskys aren't always my favourite style. The 15 seems a perennial favourite with many and I have sat on this bottle for almost two years before opening it a few weeks ago.

I'm sad to say about half the bottle has gone and these notes are from a neat pour that's sat for about twenty minutes.

On the nose is a softened but full sherry nose with just more than a wisp of smoke. Fresh red fruit and dried in abundance; fig, date and raisin are all there as are hints of dark plums, berries and tangy red apple. There's a touch of creamy vanilla, woody spices like cinnamon, and also a slight medicinal 'gum-boil lozenge' note that I get with a lot of sherried whiskies - but this is well integrated and not dominating. It's well-balanced and inviting.

Taste wise it's all fresh fruit at first with a nice balance of sweet and sour with the same notes on the palette as the nose. Then comes the dry fruits, then the spices, with the vanilla being overtook by the cinnamon.

It ends on a slightly sour and dry cinnamon note but a certain fruity creaminess lingers for a good while. Mouth feel is full and, well, delightful, actually.

This can take a lot of water and it softens the experience and brings about more of the spice and sour fruit notes. I prefer it neat, rich and unctuous.

Overall - as good a sherry based whisky as I've had and it pulls off a neat trick of being complex and interesting whilst being one of the easiest malts to drink I've had the pleasure of! Would recommend in a heartbeat, especially if you like your sherried drams.

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29 comments

@Pierre_W
Pierre_W commented

What a brilliant review, @RianC, looks to me like you have hit the nail on the head! I am a big fan of Glenfarclas even though my favourite is the 25yo but the younger ones also work for me for exactly the reasons you mentioned. The last 'farclas that I finished was the 105 (NAS version), another favourite. Here's to 2018!

11 months ago 4Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC commented

@Pierre_W - Many thanks and a happy 2018 to you too!

I recently finished a 105 (gifting the last few nips to a colleague to re-ignite his passion for the good stuff - it worked, I am led to believe!)

I would love to try the 25 and the 21 and they are very reasonably priced, considering.

On to my Benromach 15 soon . . . I feel a bit spoilt today smiley

11 months ago 1Who liked this?

@Pierre_W
Pierre_W commented

@RianC, hah, Benromach 15yo, a great release from one of my top 5 distilleries! I bet you will enjoy this one!

11 months ago 1Who liked this?

@Victor
Victor commented

@Pierre_W, would you please list those 5 distilleries, in order, if you have an order for them?

11 months ago 0

@Pierre_W
Pierre_W commented

Haha, @Victor, I should have known that you would ask for this! In order, they are: 1. Springbank, 2. Mortlach, 3. Lagavulin, 4. Benromach, 5. Yoichi. With regard to number 5), as you know, I do have a penchant for Japanese whiskies. I do not know Bourbon and American rye whiskies well enough, otherwise a name of two migt have sneaked into the top 5.

11 months ago 1Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

@Victor Shame on you!

If you were to ask most of us to list our top 5 distilleries we'd probably give you a list of a dozen that are all among our top 5....

11 months ago 1Who liked this?

@Victor
Victor commented

@Pierre_W, have you been to Hokkaido? I would love to visit there, especially in winter. Like Canada, Hokkaido is really a winter place. I suppose that a person could make that same case for Switzerland, now that I think of it.

@Nozinan, you know better than to say what you just said! Our friend @Robert99 has recently posted a discussion (after previously made questions of mine to the same point) of asking for just 3 favourite distilleries. He got answers too. In threes and not twelves.

connosr.com/if-i-had-to-do-with-three-dist…

11 months ago 1Who liked this?

Wierdo commented

Great review. I've got an unopened bottle of Glenfarclas 15 that was a gift set that came with a 50cl bottle of the 21 and 25 year old that I can't wait to crack the seal on!

11 months ago 2Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC commented

@Wierdo - Thanks! I doubt you'll be disappointed. I can imagine older 'farclas being an absolute joy.

I think it's that little touch of smoke that gives it the edge over other sherried drams, that and the dunnage maturation.

11 months ago 0

@Pierre_W
Pierre_W commented

@Victor, no, despite having lived over a year in Japan I never made it to Hokkaido. In self-defense I must add that this was before my whisky-foraging days. Too bad. Nowadays I am usually in the Kansai (Osaka-Kyoto-Kobe) area that is quite far from Hokkaido.

11 months ago 0

@BlueNote
BlueNote commented

@RianC Very insightful review. For me the GF 15 picks up where Macallan 12 and 18 left off about 10 years ago. This one should be in every malt heads top 10.

11 months ago 2Who liked this?

@Georgy
Georgy commented

Your review made me want to buy a bottle which I think I will most certainly do soon. This is my favorite stuff =))

11 months ago 1Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC commented

@BlueNote - I've heard a lot of people say that about this whisky. Can't say current reviews make me want to seek out any Macallans although the 2nd Ed did look quite interesting and got good reviews.

At £50 a pop this is excellent stuff!

11 months ago 0

@RianC
RianC commented

@Georgy - I can see why! If all sherried whiskies were this good I'd be a solid convert . . .

11 months ago 1Who liked this?

@casualtorture
casualtorture commented

This is one of my favorites.

11 months ago 1Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC commented

@casualtorture - This could well be my staple xmas whisky (if there weren't so many others to discover . . .) and I can see why many describe it as Christmas cake in a glass.

I was getting that and some orange peel and a slight nuttiness on my last dram. Really, really good stuff!

11 months ago 0

@Alexsweden
Alexsweden commented

+1 on the orange peel. Great whisky!

11 months ago 0

RikS commented

Interesting that Ralfy gave the 15yo a 'meagre' 83 in his latest review of today, whereas this one is the highest rated among the 'affordable' expressions here on Connosr.

27 days ago 0

@RianC
RianC commented

@RikS - Yeah I saw that. I'd have to sample it, of course, but I'd be happy to take his word on the casks used and their effects. Given @hewie's recent thread on it I guess it's something that's here to stay?!

Shame as the bottle I reviewed here was excellent albeit worth noting it had a few years in the bottle.

27 days ago 0

RikS commented

@RianC Yes. And of course, ralfy taste isn't necessarily everyone's taste

27 days ago 1Who liked this?

@OdysseusUnbound
OdysseusUnbound commented

@RikS I tend to ignore Ralfy’s lower malt marks, as he’s either got a broader, more refined palate than me, or he’s incredibly nit-picky, or both... Maybe I’m easier to please, but there are plenty of Ralfy-Reviewed 82-86 malt mark whiskies that I thoroughly enjoy. I pay close attention to his high marks though. Those ones have yet to let me down. Like I said, maybe I’m just easy to please...

27 days ago 0

RikS commented

@OdysseusUnbound I think you have the best Ralfy approach ever!

low mark = I'll drink it anyway, cause I'm easy to please

high mark = I'll drink it, cause he's mostly right

This way, you get to drink and enjoy EVERYTHING! +1

27 days ago 3Who liked this?

@OdysseusUnbound
OdysseusUnbound commented

@RikS almost everything....Auchentoshan American Oak was one of the worst whiskies I’ve ever had...J&B Rare was probably worse. And I’ve yet to try @Nozinan ‘s (in)famous Lambertus

27 days ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

@OdysseusUnbound I find Ralfy's scores unreliable and I no longer have time to sit through his videos. I'll occasionally listen to his "extras".

He scored Glen Breton rare 10 YO 87 in his first posted video review. I would not come close to that. Others he scores lower and I liked. And recently he has been generous with some really low ABV questionable stuff.

27 days ago 1Who liked this?

Wierdo commented

I generally find Ralfys review scores reasonably fair. Sometimes I think he makes a political point like with his Glenfarclas 15 review where the body of the review indicates a better whisky than 83. I think he's saying it's not as good as it used to be and sending a bit of a message to Glenfarclas. Not that they'd care.

I also think he adjusts his score according to price, although he doesn't say as much. Hence a whisky like Highland Black 8 which is a UK supermarket blend which is avaialble for £14 getting the same score as Glenfarclas 15, because the G15 is 4 times the price of the HB8.

Trouble with adjusting scores for price is price varies from area to area.

26 days ago 2Who liked this?

@Robert99
Robert99 commented

I don't want to defend Ralfy but I don't find Glenfarclas 15 a sure bet. I did encounter important batch variation. I have drank some that I would have rated lower than the meagre 83 of Ralfy but the best one was probably over 90. On the same note, the 105 has variations too. The solution I find to that situation is to vat a bad 15 with a bad 105 as the dullness of the first is balanced by the roughness of the second.

26 days ago 3Who liked this?

@BlueNote
BlueNote commented

@Robert99 The 15 has been pretty consistent for me over the course of about 6 bottles. One was a bit sulforous, but still worth more than 83 points. I think the 105 was slightly better as an age stated 10 year old.

26 days ago 0

@Robert99
Robert99 commented

@BlueNote I am very sensitive to alcohol and, for me, Glenfarclas 15 sometimes taste like alcohol. That is a deal breaker for me. I have also noticed that the 17 yo is good 2 years after a good batch of the 15. So I would say that I attribute a lot of importance to the batch when I consider any Glenfarclas.

26 days ago 0

@RianC
RianC commented

@Robert99 - I thought the same about Glenfarclas hence why I suggested the bottle would need trying first. I've never had a really bad one but have had some that were less than great. I always feel I'll cut them slack though due to their methods, pricing and general conduct in the Scorch whisky world.

@Wierdo - Agree and good point about Ralfy also making a point here with the low mark. That said, it does make me hesitant to pull the trigger again.

25 days ago 1Who liked this?

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