In a nutshell: A smooth, long lasting Speyside single malt with a vanilla smokiness that's matured in ex-sherry casks.
The lowdown: This highly regarded elegant Speyside malt is from one of the few family-owned and managed distilleries left in Scotland. Now almost into the seventh generation, it's been in the Grant family since 1865. The liquid itself is an appealing dark amber-gold in colour and unlike certain others is entirely natural. On the palate it's rich and full-bodied, with an almost oily mouthfeel. Whilst the the Sherry influence is clear, it is not overplayed, with everything in balance here. The comforting malty, biscuitiness is rounded out with fruit flavours including baked apple and an orange peel tang, along with vanilla and sweet wood spice, underlain by a tiny hint of toasty smoke. You can also find a range of dry, floral and herbal notes, reminiscent of gorse, heather, honey and bracken. Every expert we've come across suggests that to get the very best from this whisky, you need to allow it some time to open up. In the glass it would benefit from the careful addition of a just a couple of drops of mineral water. The concensus also seems to be that it justs gets better as you work your way down the bottle, with the tiny degree of natural oxidation interacting with the suface of the spirit, helping it to open out and highlighting each of the component parts.
In a world where the ownership of most Scottish distilleries is in the hands of multinational drinks corporations Glenfarclas stands out by still being owned by the founding family. From their origins in 1865 the business is now in the hands of the fifth and sixth generations of the Grant family with John Grant heading the business and his son George acting as brand ambassador.
As well as having a good reputation as blending malts they also enjoy something of a following for their single malts, most of which are characterised by being matured in ex-sherry casks. It's good to see that their commitment to producing single malt Scotch whisky in the traditional Speyside way is likely to continue for some time to come.