The first Malt Nuts tasting of 2020 was done fully remotely. It was fun and it gave me the opportunity to figure out the logistics behind doing these during COVID times. I learned a lot, but doing this Malt Nuts Glenfarclas Tasting (Gaggle of Glenfarclas part 2) in this fashion kinda of sucked… but there were some upsides.
Virtual tastings like this aren’t nearly as fun as IRL because I miss the thing I love the most about the Malt Nuts: the Malt Nuts. They’re a wonderful group of people and only seeing them as tiny squares on the screen that mixed into an aural cacophony of utter nonsense with all our voices coming through the same laptop speakers at the same time sucked. It wasn’t nearly the same.
However, sipping on only 1/2 of each sample during the event, and then 2 days later revisiting the other 1/2 while writing up my notes, was awesome. It was the best of both worlds when it comes to taking accurate notes and having some fun. First impressions and group chats plus at-home, quiet, independent analysis works well for me. Maybe when this is all over we’ll be able to combine them and keep the best of both.
But that’s a bridge we’ll cross when we get there. For now, let’s talk about how this night, the Malt Nuts Glenfarclas Tasting (Gaggle of Glenfarclas part 2) tasting broke down.
- Round 1: Glenfarclas 12
- Round 2: Glenfarclas Cask Strength
- Round 3: Glenfarclas Cask Strength ex-Sherry
And now for the whisky.
Round 1: Glenfarclas 12
1A: Glenfarclas 12 years (recent): 43%
- Nose: Malt, honey, fruit, licorice, spice, touch vanilla.
- Palate: Malty, fruity, candy sweet, spice, touch oak.
- Finish: Med -> malty and sweet
- Overall: (2.5 / 5) Rather basic with some decent farmy malt characteristics and a hint of sherry – not terrible.
1B: Glenfarclas 12 years (older): 43%
- Nose: Malt, honey, orchard fruit, dark fruit, cocoa, brown sugar, raspberry.
- Palate: Malt, honey, orchard fruit, dark fruit, cocoa, raspberry and touches of sherry sweetness.
- Finish: Medium -> malty and fruity sweet fades to a dry earthy farmy note.
- Overall: (3 / 5) Sweet and enjoyable through and through with a nice earthy backdrop.
1C: Glenfarclas 12 years (old tall bottle): 43%
- Nose: Sherry, sulfur, leather, nuts, spice, char and herbal notes.
- Palate: Sherry, dark fruit, citrus, sulfur, leather, nuts, spice, char and herbal notes.
- Finish: Med-long -> Cherry heavy dried dark fruit, cocoa and sulfur.
- Overall: (3 / 5) This runs that sulfur line perfectly without going over but comes through a bit flat.
1D: Glenfarclas 12 years (511.19s.0d Family Reserve): 43%
- Nose: Leather, fruit, malt, cocoa, cinnamon, raspberry Twizzlers, vanilla.
- Palate: Apricot, malt, fruit and brown sugar.
- Finish: Medium -> Sweetly honied malt.
- Overall: (3 / 5) Fruity and malty sweet with a touch of dark sweets threading through a pleasant earthy/farmy base.
My favorite of this round on the night we did them was 1C, but sitting down to write these notes, while finishing off the rest of my samples, I find I’m actually drawn more to 1D and it’s opened to more complexity while 1C has gone a tad flat.
Round 2: Glenfarclas Cask Strength
2A: Double Cask Nation Glenfarclas 9 years: 59.5% – ex_Sherry Cask
- Nose: Fruit, cherry, leather, chestnuts, char, spice, caramel, vanilla.
- Palate: Fruit, cherry, char, leather, malt, chestnuts, char, caramel, spice, vanilla.
- Finish: Medium -> Char, caramel, dried dark fruit and dry malt.
- Overall: (3.5 / 5) Opens richer with more sherried fruit and some dark fruit extract. Touches of smoky char and sulfur.
2B: Glenfarclas 2004 Vintage: 58.6% (cask 2092+2676)
- Nose: Fruit, graham, char, huckleberry yogurt, honey.
- Palate: Sherry, roasted malt, fruit, char, huckleberry yogurt, brown sugar, honey.
- Finish: Med-long -> Vanilla, malty sweet, dried fruit and char.
- Overall: (3.5 / 5) Gets more buttery as it opens and some toasty notes perk up along with some sulfur. Quite nice.
2C: Glenfarclas Heritage Cask Strength: 60%
- Nose: Graham, dark fruit, malt, huckleberry jam, vanilla, char under a heavy medicinal note.
- Palate: Graham, dark fruit, vanilla, malt, honey, huckleberry jam, brown sugar, char sitting even with a heavy medicinal note.
- Finish: Med-long -> Medicinal and soapy with a hint of imitation vanilla
- Overall: (2 / 5) First sniff and sip is nice but it quickly turns medicinal and harsh and water makes it even worse. Not a fan.
2D: Glenfarclas 2004 Sherry: 59.8% – Sherry Casks
- Nose: Fruit, graham, banana, char, huckleberry jam, honey.
- Palate: Sherry, farmy malt, fruit, oak, huckleberry, honey.
- Finish: Med-long -> Sherried malt and smoky char.
- Overall: (3 / 5) Smoky char notes arrive as it opens up along with some medicinal and buttered biscuits notes… it’s alright.
2E: Glenfarclas 2008 8 Years (2008-2016): 58%
- Nose: Fruit, graham, banana, char, huckleberry jam, honey.
- Palate: Dark fruit syrup, dry oakiness, honey, dry malt and some medicinal notes.
- Finish: Med -> Medicinal fruit, honey and char.
- Overall: (2.5 / 5) Medicinal and syrupy there are moments when it gets a little cloying and then a light metallic note comes in and it sloshes back and forth over the cloying line.
2F: SMWS 1.217 Glenfarclas 8 years: 58.7% (1st Fill ex-Bourbon)
- Nose: Bananas Foster, Nilla wafers, hay-like malt, tropical fruit, honey.
- Palate: Banana chips, Nilla wafers, hay-like malt, tropical fruit, honey.
- Finish: Med -> Banana and malt.
- Overall: (2.5 / 5) Banana starts light but after a few minutes it goes from banana chips to BANANA CHIPS with a light frosting-sweet kicker.
Tasting these several days later is fun and reveals so much more about the whiskies. 2E, for example, wasn’t too medicinal on the night we tasted but since then it’s picked up an undeniable medicinal profile.
Round 3: Glenfarclas Cask Strength ex-Sherry
3A: Specialty Drinks Time I Glenfarclas 15 years: 51.3%
- Nose: Cherry heavy dried dark fruit, leather, malty sweet, apricot, banana, hazelnuts, cocoa powder.
- Palate: Cherry heavy dried dark fruit, leather, malty sweet, apricot, banana, hazelnuts, cocoa powder.
- Finish: Med -> Cherry heavy dried dark fruit, apricot, hazelnuts, leather.
- Overall: (4 / 5) Heavy and rich, it opens to a complex array of water that explodes with a bit of water and brings more depth.
3B: Glenfarclas 2007 (07-11) TWE Bottling: 51.1%
- Nose: Sherried malt, sulfur, cocoa, hazelnuts, deep leathery dark fruit and earthy tones.
- Palate: Sherried malt, earthy notes, char, sulfur, cocoa, hazelnuts and leathery dark fruit.
- Finish: Med-long -> Sherried malt, sulfur, cocoa, hazelnuts and leather.
- Overall: (4 / 5) Rich and complex with an easy heavy delivery. This is just awesome.
3C: Glenfarclas 2000 (00-15) Whisky Fair Bottling: 52.1% – Sherry Butt & Refill Sherry Butt
- Nose: Malty sweet, char, marshmallow, apricot, heavy candy sweetness.
- Palate: Cocoa, farmy, char, apricot, heavy candy sweetness.
- Finish: Med-short -> Cloying candy sweetness.
- Overall: (2 / 5) Cloyingly sweet and heavy in a way that makes me want to dump it. Water breaks up the sweet and lets more of the maltiness in to bring a bit of earthy maltiness, but it’s not enough to fully balance it.
3D: Glenfarclas 15 years 103 Proof: 58.6%
- Nose: Nutty, fruity, cocoa, leather, orchard fruit, char.
- Palate: Cocoa, malt, dark fruit, leather, orchard fruit and char.
- Finish: Med-long -> Malty, nutty, fruity and a touch char.
- Overall: (3.5 / 5) Rich and fruity with some crushed grapes and nutty malty notes that weave in and out creating a nice profile
Getting to revisit the whiskies, along with my thoughts and notes, and compare them to my initial impressions is fantastic. Educational and fun, the best of both worlds. Once things are back to “normal”, in 2022, I hope we can explore keeping the best elements of both as we work towards being a social group once again.
Till the next one, cheers!
Malt Nuts Gaggle of Glenfarclas (part 1)
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