There is something very alluring about Scotch whisky, and in particular Single Malt Scotch.  It is an aura of mystique, tradition, and the sense of place that true single malts provide.  All the great drinks of the world have it.  It keeps single malts among the most in-demand of spirits, as well as maintaining its luxury status.  The ability to evoke emotion; whether it’s a fond memory, a thrill of excitement as you tantalize your senses, or even the drowning of sorrows, is the calling card of something special.  And the whiskies of the Glenfarclas Distillery are something special.

One of the few remaining family-owned and operated highland distilleries, Glenfarclas has been headed by the Grant family for generations, not the Grant family of William Grant’s brand, but another Grant family, (all of them named either John or George).  Nestled along the banks of the SpeyRiver in the Highland district, they have been busy distilling since 1836, and continue to create beautiful single malt whiskies to this day. Using premium select barley malt and highland spring water, Glenfarclas whiskies are painstakingly milled, mashed, fermented and batch-distilled in small copper stills and then carefully aged, and finished in oak barrels 60% sherry cask finish and 40% new oak.

The Glenfarclas whiskies are of varying ages and character ranging from 10 year old to 40 year old, as well as special bottlings and a line of single vintage whiskies by year dating back as early as 1953!  But one trait shared by all of them is an elegant aromatic character.  By using no peat in the malting of the grain, the intense, sometimes bitter, smokey note is not present and so the whiskies become a touch more perfumed and delicate on the nose, enhanced by the influence of the sherry barrels.  On the palate these are classic Speyside style single malts.  Smooth, and layered with light fruity malt notes, spice, caramel and a lingering warmth, perfect for sipping by the fireplace.

Although not all of the Glenfarclas whiskies are available in British Columbia, my favourites include: the 8 year old which is brilliant as younger single malts go and has a fresher, slightly rustic malty character; and the 15 year old which is a decadent drop that has a seamless profile from start to finish offering dried fruit notes, nutty, toasty caramel, and baking spice that just drifts on the palate.  So, if you find yourself in the vicinity of a comfortable spot, ready for some well-deserved luxury, pour yourself a glass of Glenfarclas and enjoy.


Michael Kompass