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Glenfarclas 17 Year Old

A flawed but fine 'farclas

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@WhiskyBeeReview by @WhiskyBee

11th Apr 2013


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

We Yanks don’t have access to the highly praised Glenfarclas 15 year old, so we have to content ourselves with its younger and older siblings. The 12 and 17 yo’s are closest in age, and I find myself going back and forth as to which I prefer. The 12 is rich and malty, albeit a bit one-dimensional, whereas the 17 is more layered and balanced, but with a few off notes along the way. Nevertheless, I’d gladly accept a dram of either.

Nose: As much sherry as any ’farclas I’ve tried, but mixed with a little too much dusty wood for my liking. The sherry-and-malt marriage in the 12 yo is more pleasing on my proboscis. But the 17 has plenty of delights to compensate for any deficiencies: butterscotch, almonds, raisins, vanilla, and some earthy, herbal notes at the bottom of it all. It’s a big, bold nose with one unfortunate element that’s as pronounced as anything else. Still quite sniff-worthy nonetheless.

Palate: A gutsy arrival full of sherry, spices, and dried fruits. There’s also more malt than the nose led me to expect, and there’s even a hint of peat smoke lurking in the shadows. The development is a bit disappointing, in that the rich sweetness soon turns dry and flat, while the dusty elements from the nose re-appear. There’s good things going on, but it’s not a whisky that benefits from long tongue time. Best to appreciate the positives quickly, swallow, and get on to the finish.

The finish, in fact, is the near-flawless part of the experience. It’s long, warming, and with a fair amount of peppery spice. All the sweetness has virtually disappeared, but the spices and smoke that replace it are richly satisfying and devoid of bitterness.

Despite misgivings, the sweet-to-dry evolution of Glenfarclas 17 is both unique and rewarding. Overall, the quality of this dram reduces my gripes to mere nit-picks.

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maltster commented

If you compare The Glenfarclas 17 with the 15 the older Expression is more elegant than it's younger sibling; less fruity, more herbs and vetsore dry in the finish. You should also try the 21 - more complexity, more oak with a whiff of smoke and a great whisky.

8 years ago 0

Rigmorole commented

Very strong review. I find it extremely informative.

8 years ago 0

WhiskyBee commented

@maltster - I'll definitely get a bottle of the 21 one of these days. Unfortunately, it's in the price range of about 50 other whiskies I want to try, but I'll give it strong consideration the next time I have $120 to spend on a bottle. Based on the flavor descriptions I've read, it seems like a can't-miss.

@rigmorole - Many thanks!

8 years ago 0

DaveM commented

WhiskeyBee, if your state allows it. Glenfarclas 15 and 21 year old are available from Master of Malt for $62 and $92.

8 years ago 0

WhiskyBee commented

@DaveM - We can get the 21 in the U.S. I've been seriously considering ordering the 15 from MoM, but I'm waiting until I have a sizable order so as to make the import charges worth my while. And I'm also waiting until I can afford a sizable order! ;-)

8 years ago 0

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