Whisky Review: Glenfarclas 25 Year Old (Blind Tasting Competition 2015 #1)

It’s December, that time of the year with holidays in the western world, and the annual blind tasting competition of the Dutch Usquebaugh Society club. Last year I participated for the 1st time and managed to finish at the very respectable 21st place and I hope to retain that place or improve upon it a bit but I’m afraid it will be harder this year 🙂

Today’s the first dram of the competition, so we know zlich about it. We can’t even eliminate a whisky zone like in the other days, supposedly making it the hardest guess. But as you can see from the notes below, I immediately thought of Glen Garioch with that ginger spicy note and so I trusted my gut feeling and guessed Glen Garioch. But which bottling? Can they dare and go for the club bottling that most of the participators have and tried? what age? what ABV?  There’s some oh so slight peatiness so if it’s Glen Garioch, it has to predate 1996, making it at least 20 year old. It felt quite matured but the spiciness can mislead so I went for 22 year old (maybe I should have go for 25?). ABV? It’s strong, and I can’t point at a specific bottling so I guessed 55%. Will I get some points?

Update: Bah! It’s Glenfarclas 25 Year old at 43%. I wasn’t far from the true age and totally failed with the ABV. Also, Glenfarclas 25? I did have it in the past and even reviewed it as part of Glenfarcas vertical tasting here but this one has barely any sherry influence – maybe composition changed a bit since I bought it 2 years ago? At least I did get some points and that’s a successful day in my book!

Glenfarclas 25 Year Old (43%, £108/€99.95 (NL only)/€119.99)

glenfarclas-25Nose: Starts spicy with lots of ginger and honey. hints of peat and smoke. It’s a bit chewy and resinous and I feel dryness below the surface with dry, dark yet sweet honey and limestone/minerals. Slowly it gets fruity with red apples, pears, mild apricots and peaches and after a lot of time in the glass, red berries and a bit of chocolate. Further on: candied oranges.

Palate: Dry, spicy and lots of honey. Then extra spiciness (ginger and white pepper) with smoke and fruit sweetness, candied oranges, felt thinner than the nose.

Finish: Spicy for a long time but for the first 2/3 parts there was dryness, chalk and honey sweetness.

Thoughts: A very decent dram. Dry, spicy and fruitiness. Excellent way to start the competition.

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