Distiller: Glenfarclas. ABV: 43%. Age: 12 years. Region: Highland. Price: $50.
Ah, Glenfarclas! Macallan may be the granddaddy of sherried Highlanders, and Glendronach’s been killing it with their entry- to mid-level sherried releases recently, but don’t sleep on Glenfarclas.
This 12-year-old release is a great pour and a great value, a daily dram that can stand proud alongside the Macallan and Glendronach 12s.
It’s got a big fruit-basket nose: morello cherries, stewed figs, apple sauce, and the faintest wisp of peat that came through for me as orange pekoe tea.
On the palate, there’s chocolate-cherry Black Forest cake with a touch of char on the bottom. The finish is spicy, oaky, and bittersweet–quite close to the Macallan 12.
The older that Glenfarclas bottlings get, the richer, more heavily sherried, and more magical–especially their Family Cask releases. The 29-year-old 1974 vintage J.T. Rickhouse shared with me not long ago was hands-down the best sherried single malt I’ve ever tasted. Take a run at those if you ever get the chance. But in the $50ish, readily available range, the 12’s a delicious place to start.
Sláinte! – BO