Whisky Advent Calendar 2015: Day 12

12 12 2015

Halfway there!  Well, almost.  At this calendar milestone, it was fitting to pull out a scotch from a distillery that was the focal point of an even bigger milestone last year, when the Glenfarclas 40 Year  was the culmination of 2014 Advent on Christmas Eve.  Since this is only the halfway point of 2015 Advent, we got a scotch about half as old, but the Glenfarclas 21 Year Highland Single Malt is still the oldest whisky pulled from the calendar to date.  The Glenfarclas distillery is located in Speyside, in the northeastern Scottish Highlands, and has been owned by the same family since 1865, when it was purchased for a shade over £511.  If you really want to make something out of your investment portfolio, buy a scotch distillery 150 years ago.

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As you might expect from a spirit that spent 21 years inside of a (I’m guessing Oloroso sherry – that’s Week 2’s quota) oak barrel, the Glenfarclas was a gorgeous polished amber colour, one of those whiskies whose visual appearance is a central part of its drinking pleasure and not just an afterthought.  The nose was part confectionary (carrot cake, burnt sugar, sticky toffee pudding) and part sherried (brine, nuttiness, vegetal hints, dates), with the former aromas giving the latter some life and approachability and the latter keeping the former in check.  The scotch was a little fiery to taste, its alcohol asserting itself even at a relatively tame 43% abv, and even after I added water, but it still delivered flavours of toasted marshmallow, pumpkin spice, cedar, coffee grounds and cinnamon sticks ahead of a slightly salty finish.  All in all a well put-together dram at a solid price for its age ($143), but for whatever reason I couldn’t quite forge any emotional connection with it, so it probably won’t leave any lasting memory.  It was clinically good, but not in a way that would make me scramble to get more.  It’s all downhill from here for the next 13 days…

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