Origin: Speyside (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing barrels: Ex-Sherry Oloroso
Added coloring: No
Owner: J. & G. Grant
Average price: € 49.00
Official website: www.glenfarclas.com
In 1968, George S. Grant, then head of Glenfarclas, decided to bottle, as a Christmas present for family and friends, a single cask at the original cask strength of 105 British Proof, the equivalent of 60% ABV.
It was so successful that he was persuaded to repeat the experiment, and before long the newborn Glenfarclas 105, the first cask strength in the modern history of whisky to be regularly marketed, became part of the distillery’s core range.
It is, for all intents and purposes, a NAS, i.e. a whisky with no official ageing declaration, but the well-informed say it’s around 8/10 years.
The casks used are European oak (and therefore more tannin-rich) and have previously housed Sherry Oloroso.
As always with Glenfarclas, the packaging is labelled Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky, because the distillery belonged to the Highlands before Speyside was granted autonomous region status.
It was simply decided not to update the label.
At a glance, the 105, which comes in a litre bottle instead of the usual 70 cl, is a dark amber colour, which is its natural colour.
Bringing the glass closer to the nose, you perceive the alcoholic importance: it is vigour, however, not arrogance. The sherried note imposes itself: dark chocolate, cherries in alcohol, sultanas. Little complexity, perhaps, but very pleasant. With a few drops of water, it’s the chocolate that has more tone.
On the palate, the alcohol pushes for a few moments, then a soft harmony imposes itself: lots of Sherry (chocolate and cherries in alcohol), with spicy notes (cinnamon, nutmeg?) in the background. Here too, dilution with water doesn’t lead to radical openings, but to a moderate accentuation of the chocolate and, in part, the spices.
The finish is less long than one would expect, but equally pleasant, on Sherry notes.
More than its strength, the 105 is remembered for its gentleness.
A miracle of whiskies and confirmation of Glenfarclas’ magisterium.
To be compared with Aberlour A’bunadh, another Speyside cask strength sherried.
The Scotch Noob