Last evening, I ordered a glass of the Farc 21. I must say, I was not disappointed in the least. The difference from a dram of the 17 which I'd tried a few weeks earlier at the Highland Stillhouse seemed dramatic, at least with 20/20 hindsight.
I found my dram of the 21 at The Heathman hotel in downtown Portland. This establishment has great happy hour prices and a generous single malt selection. My glass cost $17 (American dollars). It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience to sip the Farc 21 before and after dinner, and then to walk up the hill a few blocks to the Portland Art Museum for an exhibit entitled, "Mythologia: Gods, Monsters, and Men."
As for the scotch, it became noticeably better in the glass after thirty minutes (yes, I milked it for quite a while in "restaurant time" in which wait staff tend to puzzle over one's ability to sip a drink so leisurely in our "hurry up and wait" society). The nose on The Farc grew more fragrant and the flavor on the palate became heavenly with a rich toffee dominant note. There was much less of a sherry influence than in the 17.
Vanilla bean was also present in the luxurious mouth feel, and the legs on the sides of my glass were thick and decadent, as was the color of this whisky. I must say that I did not detect any mint or peppercorns in there at all, as some reviews have stated. All in all, the dram was very smooth with a finish that helped one to feel immortal, at least for a minute or two. I refrained from taking a drink of water upon leaving my table, even though I was quite thirsty, because I could not bear to wash the last few scintillations of Farc 21 off my tongue.
I've seen other reviews that make statements such as "The 25 Glenfarclas is much better than the 21 but it is twice the price." Well, this is certainly not the case in Oregon, where the price of the 21 is about $140 and the 25 is about $160. I have never tried the 25 and I probably won't shell out $160 for a bottle any time soon, but an extra 20 dollars hardly seems like much of a leap if one is already willing to spend $140 on the 21.
As for my verdict on the 21, it has redeemed my appreciation and respect for Glenfarclas. I was not all keen on the 10 or the 12. The 17 is good, but it did not bowl me over. The 21, however, did. It is just fantastic. I can't recommend it enough.
Who says that money can't buy happiness? Well, I guess if sipping a fine scotch equate to happiness for you, then it can when it comes to The Farc. I was certainly in Tastebuds Heaven for about 40 minutes while sitting in the Heathman, looking out the window at the winter mist and the traffic with dusk setting in, knowing that I would soon be comfortably shuffling through the museum looking at some engravings and prints from centuries past.
The quality buzz from that Farc definitely helped to make the museum a warm, happy transition from one work of art to the next, with a little time spent reading the more interesting textual histories and backgrounds for the pieces.
I was surprised to see that Target owns so many ancient Japanese masks in the museum's regular exhibit there. Who would have thought that Target corp would be into Japanese masks . . . then again, hmmm, maybe it does make sense in a weird Zen way. . . .