I’m going to keep the typing down to a minimum because, as you’ll see below, I’ve hand written this post and all of the tasting notes to accompany it. It was suggested to me by a good friend to write the notes as if I was actually in 1953 so, I grabbed a pencil and paper and, viola!
What I am about to review is the oldest whisky to EVER be released by Glenfarclas. A 58 year old whisky, this was distilled in 1953 and is one of 4 cask of its age – the oldest in all of Glenfarclas’ stock.
The single cask rendered just about 400 bottles and all of them are available exclusively through Master of Malt.
A 1953 Glenfarclas, 58 years old… I have very lucky taste buds and they are all thankful. Very thankful. I mention it in my review but a HUGE thanks goes out to the folks at Master of Malt, George Grant of Glenfarclas and Michal Kowalski for the generous sample!
And now, the review – there are two jpgs you can click on to view the pages in full size on a PDF if the type is too small or difficult to read – the PDFs are about 8mb each so they may take a couple of moments to download for viewing:
The event (which was organized by the Kosher Wine Society – a great group, BTW) was held at an amazing Glatt Kosher restaurant in NYC called Solo. With me was Noah Goldstein, formally of Usquaebach and Andy Hogan, formally of Isle of Arran.
The idea was that I was supposed to pair five whiskies with five separate courses. Whisky & food pairing, when done right, is both fun and down-right delicious.
Anyway, back to Yoni. He came up to me right after the tasting and had mentioned that he was a fan of the blog (that was very nice to hear. I always blush a bit when people say they like my reviews!). It was obvious that Yoni was a true whisky lover and though our conversation wasn’t very long I enjoyed it greatly. It’s a treat when you get to discuss whisky with whisky geeks.
Since then, he and I have kept in touch and have seen one another at various whisky shows.
Later last year (I think it was at the NYC Whisky Guild Whisky Cruise) Yoni had mentioned to me that he and his wife were expecting a baby and have since that time they had their boy – Aiden Joseph is his name. The whisky of choice to celebrate the birth of their first born was this Glenfarclas.
In March, Yoni was nice enough to share a sample with me. Thank you so much, Yoni!! I’ve said it before but, Mazel Tov to you and your wife on the birth of your son! Being a dad is a wild ride (as you’re finding out).
Finally, and this is more of a thank you than a shameless plug but, Yoni is now a member of the Jewish Single Malt Whisky Society – thank you so much for your membership, Yoni!
On to the whisky:
On the nose – Fan-tab-u-lous nose. Really, quite stunning.
A mixture of fresh blood orange and the New York Public Library, polished wood, leather, old paper. Glorious.
In sum – Very fitting for the birth of a child. Yoni, my hat is off to you, your wife and your son, Aiden Joseph. You chose just the right whisky to celebrate with. I’m sure you’ll find more reasons to celebrate your son and, thankfully, you have some fine hooch to do it with. Mazel Tov!
There’s something really good about feeling really good about… stuff. You see, I do not believe in altruism. Mother Theresa was an AMAZING woman that did so many wonderful things for the needy. But no one can tell me that she did not feel good about all of the work she did; or perhaps feel motherly toward many of the people who counted on her and those that worked with her. It feels good to do good and there’s nothing wrong with that.
So… do you want to feel good about helping people (and get some good whisky in the process)?
Master of Malt teamed up with Glenfarclas to choose two ex-oloroso sherry casks to marry up (mix together), bottle up and then sell. This 9yo whisky, bottled at cask strength (53% ABV) is selling at Master of Malt for only £39.99 and £10 of each sale (basically 25%) goes to Movember who fund The Prostate Cancer Foundation and Livestrong as well as help to create awareness on Men’s Cancer Issues. You can read more on Movember’s Global Action Plan here.
This being said, I did my part by purchasing a couple of these “Movember” Glenfarclas bottles from Master of Malt. Thankfully, the whisky inside the bottle is pretty damn good (and a steal at only £39.99!)
On the nose – Out of the gate the nose is hot and sharp; angular (if you can apply that to a scent). Not the soft sherried nose you’d come to expect from most Glenfarclas whiskies.
It is a very “sherried” nose however… Think sugared prunes, potting soil, gingerbread men and a shit ton spice and spice cakes.
Some rubbery notes in there too (party balloons).
With water the scent becomes… inviting, round, big and plump. Sort of like all of those butts Sir Mix A Lot always raps about.
On the mouth – Hot in the mouth with a big spice attack. Let’s try this again… Yeah, still hot, will add water in a sec. Let’s talk mouthfeel though: Sort of thin but flavor packed (almost like a barrel proof bourbon attack – very strong in heat and flavor).
Waiter, may I have some water please? Just two droppers full. Thanks.
As I suspected, water is the key. Still a bit hot but much more tolerable and the mouth feel gets nice and big. Water is to this whisky as a fluffer is to Ron Jeremy (that’s it with the sexy stuff, promise!).
Orange and spice and everything nice. Vanilla is huge here.
Finish – Very dry finish, long with spice drops.
In sum – It’s a whacky/wild little ‘farclas. It’s sort of like the “cool” kid in the room that’s maybe not as cool as everybody thinks he is but because everybody thinks he’s cool, he’s just that much cooler… Maybe like Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Ok, enough with the tangent.
At £40, this cask strength whisky is a total steal and just the fact that £10 of that goes to Movember for men’s cancer charities… THAT’S cool! A bit of Tzedakah and Tikkun Olam all in one! Get a bottle or two before they sell out.
Click here to buy a bottle and don’t forget to use the term “JSMWS sample” in the delivery instructions portion of the shopping cart – Master of Malt will ship you a free dram of whisky if you do.
I can’t believe I mixed Mother Theresa in with Sir Mix A Lot, Ron Jeremy and Jeff Spicoli. My apologies if I offended anyone.
Special thanks to Master of Malt for the sample! I’m now working on bottle #1 from the two I bought 🙂
A few weeks ago, while on a trip to Chicago, I met up with my good friend Jason Johnstone-Yellin (of guidscotchdrink.com) and during this time we sat a spell at Lady Gregory’s. A cool Irish pub with a decent dinner menu (actually, a really great menu if you’re not a vegetarian) and a Whisk(e)y & Beer menu that was… not too shabby!
The tough thing is, for whisky anoraks/reviewers/bloggers like Jason and I, well… we’ve tasted A LOT of whisky. As an idea or hint; when Jason and I were in Scotland this past August with our friends and tour guests, in 7 days alone, we tasted 134 different whiskies (yes, we counted and kept track). Not everybody does, I understand this. In fact we talked about it during our time at Lady Gregory’s (how crazy, ridiculous and awesome it is to get to taste so much whisky). This being said, while I call the Whisk(e)y menu “not too shabby”, for most it’s an amazing whisky list! Over 200 whiskies if memory serves.
While going over the list we found two whiskies in particular that really intrigued us so we had to try them/review them together. The first is this Glenfarclas that’s being reviewed today and the other is a Laphroaig that I’ll post up in a couple of weeks.
As mentioned, we reviewed this whisky together so the notes are combined notes from our experience.
Color — Sunlight on a mahogany chair
On the nose — Attic stored afghans (not the people), cinnamon, candied apples, burnt caramel, mahogany, cherry stones/pits, fresh suburban rain, baked granola bars (freshly toasted oats, oven baked raisin notes, warm honey).
On the mouth — WOOD, lots of wood. Hot, overstewed prunes, the spirit character is a bit lost here.
Finish — Moderate to long, sweet and astringent/bitter cherry juice, continues to dry out the mouth
In sum — It was cool taste a whisky that was almost as old as I am but in the end, the real treat was to spend some time and bullshit with a good friend.
I’ve mentioned in the past that one of the things that drew me to whisky was not the enigmatic smells; the delicious and complex flavors or what drinking enough of it does to your body and brain. No, what really pulled me in were the memories and feelings the smell, taste and experience could provide.
Like how smelling lilacs reminds one of the joys of new life in the springtime. The way the sound and feel of crunching leaves underfoot brings you back to your childhood days when you first discovered the colors and smells of the season – or perhaps the first time you made a scarecrow…
Whisky can bring you back to those good times in your life – times which comfort you or bring a yesterdays’ smile to your face… What’s more, whisky can put back, in the front of your mind, your memories of discovery and learning and exactly how it all felt.
There are a few whiskies in particular that do this for me:
• Lagavulin (instant thoughts of a campfire in the mountains with my dad)
• Ardbeg (a warm California beach at lowtide and a lemonade stand where I made $4.50 which was a lot of money back in 1978)
• Glenfarclas(Thanksgiving, Sukkot (which is the Jewish/Biblical holiday the US fore-fathers based Thanksgiving around) and perhaps the feeling I get during passover – it’s the warmth of family and the savory/sweet smells in the house. Just lovely).
I’d never had the Glenfarclas 25 until now. The 12yo, 15yo, cask strength 105 and the 40yo are all lovey-dovey malts if’n you ask me. So, I have to expect that this will fall right into place. I’d like to thank the nice chaps and lasses at Master of Malt for the Sample. Much appreciated!
On the nose — Rubber bouncy-balls and cranberry sauce (tin can and all).
Strawberry preserves, warmed honey and a hint of smoke.
Spicy and loaded with vanilla and wintery baking spices.
A very rounded, supple nose.
On the mouth — The texture is like watered down honey.
Sweet and nutty.
A potpourri of flavors (mainly the contents of a wintry potpourri).
This is like drinking a season…
More bouncy-balls and citrus spice.
Finish — Warming, soothing and filled with rum cakes!
In sum — There’s something so very comforting about the Glenfarclas whiskies I’ve had and this one did not let me down. Round, warm and inviting; this is one to sip on while your spacial lady or special man friend is away. It’s like imbibing a hug. I will say, however, that the Glenfarclas 15yo is still my favorite.