Indie Glenfarclas bottlings are rare, so rare that you will not find an IB bottling with Glenfarclas name on it
However, it’s not the entire truth – there are some indie Glenfarclas bottlings available, just not under the Glenfarclas name. Usually it will be using the “Ballindaloch” name (soon to be a real distillery) as Glenfarclas resides in the Ballindaloch area in Speyside, or in the case of SMWS bottlings, it will be using the distillery code 1 and SMWS will never tell us it’s a Glenfarclas (at least not officially).
Two weeks ago in a local event we managed to taste two indie Glenfarclas: SMWS 1.156 New York Cheesecake which is a 11 year old whisky from ex-bourbon cask and a TWE hand-fill from the cask TWE Ballindaloch 2001 vintage filled on 27.4.14 (12 year old).
During the tasting, a theory was brought up that those indie casks are available (even if rarely) only when the cask profile doesn’t fit the Glenfarclas style. Interesting theory, ah? Let’s dive into the tasting notes and check it.
SMWS 1.156 New York Cheesecake (63.2%, 219 bottles)
Nose: Kicking, fresh and spirity with lots of fields and hey notes, vanilla, coconut and green fruits. Adding few drops of water reveals some lemony syrup, peels of citrus while turning it even more more spirity.
Palate: coconut, vanilla, bit of sweet lemonade, green apples. With water the lemon turns into pickled lemon and some oak is showing up.
Finish: lingering sweetness, lemon, coconut, some oak bittersweet. slightly bitter almonds, but less so with water.
Ballindaloch 2001, 12 yo (59.2%, filled on 27.4.14)
Nose: Fruity and floral, elder flowers, vanilla, dried banana slices.
Palate: Oh my this is pretty much undrinkable neat as it’s too harsh and fierce so water must be added. After it was tamed with water it felt sweet, floral, bit of oak and some raisins.
Finish: Short medium, oak, and some lingering sweetness
Conclusion: Well, those were two totally different casks and they both completely deviates from the known and familiar Glenfarclas taste profile so it does fits the theory even if it’s not a 100% proof. Out of those two, I preferred the SMWS 1.156. Despite the fact it’s ex-bourbon cask it provided the better whisky experience.