This is a review of the Glenfarclas 175th Anniversary Chairman's Reserve. For their 175th Anniversary (1836-2011) the people of Glenfarclas released three different new bottles, one more exclusive (read more expensive than the other)
Description: a vatting of 4 sherry casks from the 60's whose age adds up to 175 years, red mahonie in color, bottled at 46%.
Nose: Dry and sherried with notes of varnished sandalwood. With a swirl sweet aromas of blackcurrent, chocolate shavings, pomegranate and black cherries are revealed
Mouth: less powerful body than expected after the nose, but rich and dignified on the palate. A bouquet of Oloroso sherry and dark crumbs of chocolate, with maybe just a touch of pear.
Finish: a drying and slightly bitter herbal finish. Notes primarily consist of dark chocolate, dark wood and chewing tabacco.
The Verdict: Excellent whisky, but I expected more from a 175th anniversary vatting, even more so from this upscaled "chairman's reserve" release. The nose is an olden golden blast from the past, but at this price, the palate and finish just won't do. I no way a bad dram, but why not get yourself a equally good, but younger Glenfarclas? More of a gimmick than a item worth tracking down.
I remember that I had wanted to track down a bottle when this was released but somehow did not manage to. Seems that the loss was not too big after all. This is interesting since - as you correctly mention - one was justified to expect something stellar with a 175th anniversary vatting. On a different note I find confirmed a recurring experience that I have had with older Glenfarclas bottlings, namely that the nose dazzles but that palate and finish cannot follow suit. Pity.
They should have bottled it at cask strength to invigorate the palate. I fear they were too busy finding the right casks that one the one hand could add up to 175 and on the other remained somewhat effordable for the true fans. Maybe foreshadowing the 200th anniversary release of Ardbeg?