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Whisky Reviews

Glenfarclas 2010, 9 Year Old, Cask #1497 bottled for Hideo Yamaoka, 60.4% ABV



This is a Glenfarclas that can only be drammed or purchased at the very few highly-specialised bars and stores that'd deal with really small bottlers/distributors who are able to privately select casks for limited distribution, especially one who is based in Japan. The Auld Alliance in Singapore, where I drammed this at, is one of those bars with close ties to Hideo Yamaoka and his Whisky Mew firm. I have to say, I paid only slightly more for the same volume of a 26yo Family Cask during my recent Vietnam holiday, which probably reflects the much higher overheads in Singapore and the premium for a gorgeous label design with quite well-known IP (the City Hunter manga/anime franchise).

Distillery: Glenfarclas

Region: Speyside

Price: ~40USD/30ml dram

Cask Type: 1st-fill sherry butt

ABV: 60.4%

Chill-filtered: No

Color: 1.3, russet/muscat (natural colour)

Drammed after 15 minutes in air, out of a snifter glass, from an open bottle with about a third left.

Nose: Delightful coconut flakes, rose syrup, Turkish delight. With water, pear compote and Muscat grape gummies appear.

Palate: Great integration for the age and ABV. Still a tad numbing. Turkish delight continues, lime syrup, a subliminal whiff of Shimeji mushrooms. With water, green grapes, quince.

Finish: Lingering, warm. Root beer, grape soda, plum skins, apple compote, a whetting mild sweet meatiness like milk-fed veal (had that recently) that snaps into clearer focus on the retronasal with two drops of water.

Conclusion: Luckily this is a precocious Glenfarclas cask that defies expectations at 9yo. The integration is almost as good as I can ask for at this age and ABV. No prickling or ethanol harshness but definitely some heat. Definitely still highly enjoyable neat but it can take two drops. This is the sort of sherry I love. Rich yet fresh; fun yet has some real complexity and depth. I'd say this is a fairly active 1st-fill butt that has been bottled on the right time. I especially like how it presents the typical sherry meatiness in a more delicate manner than the usual intense beefiness. The nose is beautiful too! Not as complex as the Glendronach but one that has enough complexity, and is just approachably fun.

I enjoyed this at least as much as the 1997 Ben Nevis I drammed recently, but still a step down from the 26yo 4th-fill Family Cask, so I think this score is warranted. If the alcohol integration matched the BN and there was a bit more complexity on the palate, I would have probably bumped this up past 90, possibly even outstripped the 4th-fill cask which leant slightly towards the acquired-taste-dirty-sherry style.

Score: 89

If the SMWS named this: Vealing and Dealing