First off, I owe all of my thanks to rigmorole for encouraging me to give this distiller another try after my 10-year debacle tasting at a bar. I had sworn Glenfarclas off at that time. Over my first six weeks into sampling single malts, I had dove in head first to the tune of $1400 US in bottle purchases plus more from bar samplings that totaled 40 single malts and 5 blends. Quite intense to say the least!!!
Previously, Glenkinchie 12 had been my favorite, with Highland Park 18 being my "last bottle purchased" for quite a while as per doctor's advice. Well, as that Moody Blues song goes, "I know you're out there...somewhere", I had no idea that it applied to single malt scotch and I just kept searching for the right one.
Since half of my collection was obtained from reading trusted reviews here on CONNOSR rather than more expensive bar samplings, I just drove home this evening to the only store that I knew handled any of the Glenfarclas malts. They were the 12 and 17 year olds. I already knew from reading these reviews that the highly rated 15 year old was unavailable in the US (presumably because the Scots keep it to themselves). Not wanting to repeat another 10-year debacle from buying the cheaper 12 year old, I plunked down another $85 US on the plastic for the 17 year old. Driving the rest of the way home, I kept asking myself, "What in hell have I just done? This better be good!!!"
When I got home and poured a dram, memories of my first taste of Pappy Van Winkle 15 year old bourbon reappeared. Oh my God! This is PERFECTION!!
To compare this to my days of scuba diving on shear Caribbean walls, one hangs around in the shallow reef flats because it's nice and safe. Most new divers are too afraid to even look over the edge of the top of the wall. Then one day, one takes the leap over the wall. Instead of being terrified, there is the feeling of Nirvana and exhilaration. Fish come up to you to look you in the eye, having never seen a human before. The coral grows from the side of the wall untouched for more than 1000 years because it is far below of the zone affected by hurricanes. This is heaven!!!! (women even ask if it's "better than ahemmmm?!!!"..yes, it is!!)
And comparing Glenfarclas 17 to this underwater world is the closest way to compare to all the rest. I would have given it a 100 score, but it has only been one intense six weeks to find this one, and eventually I may find one better that is readily availble and not a one-of-a-kind.
Oh yeah, for those boring tasting notes, the nose is like the sweetest smelling lady and the taste is like caramel mixed with a perfect selection of herbs and gentle spices. The finish is medium to long, but I could not detect smoke as others have said. Comparing this to Christmas cake is just not fair, as this one is so much better! As I said before, Pappy Van Winkle 15 year old bourbon is my closest taste comparison, and nothing else in my collection even comes close.
Thanks again, rigmorole, and my friends have graciously offered to help me out in my "predicament". I figure for each one that I convert from those awful blends to single malts, that will get me one step closer to heaven. So, say hallelujah!
The 15 year old was unavailble in my part of the country, so I tried that awesome bottle of 17 year old. It was so good that I bought the very last bottle of 17 year old from my favorite store and have never seen it for sale again. Knowing that, I saved it for months and refused to open it until I found another bottle to back it up. Since I never did find another bottle of 17 year old for sale, I finally opened the bottle that I had been saving for months. To my utter horror, the cork on that bottle had dry rotted and the taste of the malt was okay, but nothing to write home about. So that heavenly Glenfarclas 17 was a once in a lifetime event for me, because I have switched from single malts to cabernet wine to tremenously improve my health. Yes, I do pick up a wheated bourbon or good affordable single malt once in a while, but nothing at all like the frenzy in which I tasted and wrote all of my reviews. If I ever lose my ordered list, I just refer to my reviews to see what was good. I do know one thing, blends are not the best value, and a well chosen single malt can be cheaper and better than the best blend. Just find your favorite region and start sampling.
Got my bottle of 17. I noticed right away that its condition was...weird. The cardboard tube had discoloration, with maroon fading to pink in the front. When I pulled the bottle out, it had some kind of smelly substance dried onto it. The little copper medallion with the engraved "G" had come unglued. I sponged the bottle with dish soap and stuck the medallion back on with superglue. It all makes me wonder what kind of journey my bottle has taken. This bottle is now banned in Michigan due to state restrictions, so I'm keeping it.