I tend to read up and plan which whiskies I’m going to buy a couple of weeks before I do so and even in a shop if I notice a particular bottle at a price I would consider paying I’ll have my phone out to first check that it isn’t getting a slagging online.
Doing such research is important as nobody wants to get stuck with a duff bottle, but it can also raise your expectations of a whisky beyond what it is capable of delivering. There have been a few times when I’ve been waiting a while for a bottle having been assured by the masses that it’ll change my life, but when the moment finally arrives it falls a little flat.
Some whiskies require a bit of work to get to know, however, and with a lot of these bottles I’ve found that a bit of time to experimenting with how much water (if any) and how much breathing time a whisky needs is time very well spent. Often by the end of the bottle I’m as enthusiastic about it as anyone else and it’s on the shopping list for another before too long.
Glenfarclas 10 is not one of these. It is a perfect example to me at least of a whisky that leaps out of the bottle and gets straight down to business from the word go. I bought this after watching Ralfy’s series on Glenfarclas and paid £30 for the bottle, so was expecting a fairly standard introductory experience to Glenfarclas. Well if this is the low end of the range then it has fulfilled it’s goal of showcasing the brand excellently, and I’m very keen to try some more.
100% matured in Oloroso sherry casks and pleasingly presented with it’s natural colour of light copper with a green tint in the light, this really feels like a whisky which has been made with a bit of care and appreciation for the craft. The nose gives away a slightly youthful but not unpleasant spiritiness, but there’s a deep flavour here that could convince me that there has been some older whisky used in the vatting. Notes of marzipan, cloves and fresh red fruits on the nose carry forward onto the palate which balances beautifully with a light white pepper note before fading away into a medium finish, with a slight hint of sweet sherry right at the end. I find just couple of drops of water and 10 minutes exposure to the air really balances this dram out into something lovely.
It’s a great lesson in what talented, dedicated people can do with well made spirit and decent casks. Very impressive stuff which has gone straight to the top of my list of £30-or-less single malts to always have on the shelf and made me want to go on exploring the rest of the Glenfarclas range in the next year or so.