Let there be no mistake – cask strength whiskies can pack a wallop! And this one is no exception.
Originally sampled as part of a Glenfarclas evening held in November 2011, I later purchased a bottle which made its rounds in various social evenings.
Clearly a Grant family favourite, George Grant (Glenfarclas Brand Ambassador & 6th generation Grant) regaled us with the tale of how it was his grandfather’s whisky of choice. With great affection, he spoke of delivering each Monday a few bottles as a weekly ‘quota’ to his grandfather to imbibe and share… only to discover years later his father did the same – just on Thursday! Wily coot or not, his grandfather certainly enjoyed his whisky with his mates – apparently without any namby pamby watering down.
Glenfarclas 105 Cask Strength NAS 60%
- Colour – Dark amber
- Nose – Remember that wallop? You get it right in the nose… then dry sherry notes, apples, raisins, honey, fruitcake. As it airs further, medicinal elements become increasingly pronounced.
- Palate – Without pretence, this is a solid, strong, full flavoured woody whisky balancing fruit and peat. A bit of burnt toast. Medicinal – think cherry cough syrup!
- Finish – Forceful. Again that medicinal quality with an unmistakable element of sulphur.
- Add water – Like many cask strength whiskies, it opens up with water. Just a drop or two can add a harsh zing to this aggressive whisky. It opens up better with a small ‘dollop’ or ‘dash’ than ‘drop’.
- Overall – The quintessential sherry bomb with attitude.
Here is the thing though… if I compare the various cask strength whiskies in my cabinet currently, the Glenfarclas 105 is clearly the most straight-forward no-nonsense Speyside dram of the lot.
It is one you won’t worry about leaving in the back of your whisky cabinet. When you pull it out again, you may find it has mellowed a tad from when 1st opened – which isn’t a bad thing!
It is reasonably priced and so far – what you see is what you get without surprises.
Me…? I rather appreciate a good surprise or two and a little nuance peaking out beyond the boldness… even in my cask strength whiskies.
If you will forgive the gender bias, I’m tempted characterise Glenfarclas 105 as a “drinking man’s” whisky – the kind to knock back a few pegs with mates on a chilly eve, the kind when in the mood for a straight-up in-your-face whisky without fuss, the kind to toast tall tales and come back for more.
I have a funny feeling this is exactly how George’s grandfather enjoyed his 105!
What others say:
Your recent blog about including the 105 in a cask strength tasting with the ladies brought me to your individual review and I completely agree. The step I’m missing is that I haven’t taken my bottle of 105 from the back of the cabinet since its first few early tastings. Its “straight-forward no nonsense” was a bit too simple for me. Like you I prefer a surprise or two but that’s possibly because my rare moments of whisky drinking are always special occasions. The 105 certain feels like a drinking man’s dram, perhaps even one to have as a chaser along with a beer, where the two flavours give each other a boost. I will try it again though and see if time in the bottle has made it a bit more interesting. Perhaps I wont try it with water next time and go for the burn!
LikeLiked by 1 person
You might find that the oxidation mellowed it out a bit… I certainly found that the case. Normally I’m completely averse to any such ruination of a good whisky! In this case, I do find it already quite ‘straight forward’ so there weren’t any spectacular nuances or surprises at risk. To me, it took a bit of the edge off… though I found more sulphur than my original impression.
I’m completely with you in preferring a little ‘surprise or two’ and you can clearly tell this one sat in the back of my whisky cabinet for quite some time! It still wasn’t polished off by our Whisky Ladies either… though they nearly drained dry the entire bottle of the A’bunadh!!
Let me know if you decide to pull yours out of the closet and give it another chance! 🙂
LikeLiked by 1 person