Whisky Musings – Glenfarclas 12 Review


Glenfarclas 12 (Speyside) – 43% ABV – $74.95 (LCBO)

Nose: Full and fruity, and fresh in a way that reminds me of a glade or orchard after a rainfall.  Red currants, raisins, slight strawberry, are joined by notes of grapes and pears.  That freshness comes through as something vegetal, like damp grass or wild brush.  Toffee-like sweetness and something slightly spicy tickle the back of the nose.

Palate: The promise of the nose delivers on the palate!  That undertone of toffee sweetness from the nose jumps to the fore on the arrival.  This is quickly joined by sweet, rich, and slightly syrupy notes of peach, pear and strawberry.  The sweetness dries up through the development and those big, sherried notes come booming through.  Big notes of fig, sultana raisins, and raisins.  Those hints of spice are still there, lingering in the background, hinting at baking spice, oak, leather, and something slightly citrusy.

Finish: More than expected!  Begins dry, but as it fades leaves behind those slight sweet sherry notes.  Lingering sweet raisin and fig, cinnamon, oak and a wee bit of caramel.

Score: 87/100

I visited the Glenfarclas distillery last year, and had the opportunity to try some really interesting and somewhat older samplings.  Honestly, I wasn’t particularly impressed.  The grounds were lovely, the tasting room beautiful, but the whiskies just epitomized my experience with Glenfarclas.  When I like one of their releases I tend to love it, but when I don’t love it I can’t think of a distillery that leaves me feeling more “Meh”.  

I had vague recollections of trying a dram of Glenfarclas 12 a few years about and just being totally underwhelmed, but when it reappeared here in Ontario at a “reasonable” price I gave it another try anyway.  Glad I did!

I don’t know if my previous experience was with a bad batch, or when Glenfarclas changed the way they chose their casks for the 12 year old release, but man what a difference in experience.

This is just good stuff.  The more variety of whisky I try, the more I believe that for my palate the 15-18 year old range is the real sweet spot.  Whiskies in that range (well-produced ones) just tend to have the balance of complexity and intensity that really speak to me.  That said, this release hangs right there with most 15 year old whiskies I’ve tried, despite being 3 years younger.  Kudos Glenfarclas!

Add this to the Glenfarclas 15 and 105 as three of my absolute go-to daily sippers when I’m in a sherry mood.

This has enough of that hefty sherried richness to be a comforting dram on a cold winter’s evening, but remains light and lively enough to sip while watching a summer’s sunset over the lake.  Lovely!

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