After my let-down with Glenfarclas 15 at the bar, I decided to give them another go when the ‘105’ recently returned to the LCBO. I mean, I haven’t really been let down by a cask-strength to date, so why not try and extend the streak? I mean, I really did love the nose of the Glenfarclas 15. The mark was almost entirely based on that nose, truth be told.
Nose: Christmas cake and spice with sherry. Honey, toffee. Many of your sherry bomb characteristics (think Aberlour a’Bunadh) but this one is a bit more straight-forward and balanced. A bit of red cough syrup, but in the strangest pleasant way. And that’s saying something, as cherry cough syrup sends me running for the hills.
Palate: Rich, and sweet in a big way. Huge on the intro with the dark maraschino cherry chocolates. This flavour is the lead singer of this band. But this one’s no prima donna. Instead, this one shares the stage with every other flavour in an excellent balance. Coffee, raisins, and a bit of a mustiness. Honey on toast. Hints of smoke, but not your blackened, dark and stormy ‘burning fires of hell’ smoke like you’d get with a really strong Islay. Instead, it’s a quiet fire in a wood-stove where you’ve likely been baking. Add a dollop of water more than your usual teaspoon, and it’s a bowl of mixed nuts. Beautiful.
Finish: A flash of the cherry chocolates, quickly going tart into some of that cough-syrupyness. Hints of delicious Turkish delight and woody undertones. When the sweetness is all gone, it’s a drying pipe-tobacco finish—so mature and beautiful. It’s a very long, warming, perfect-for-winter finish.
Didn’t think it’d happen, but I can officially say I’m in the Glenfarclas ‘105’ camp in the 105 vs. a’Bunadh sherry-bomb debate. While they’re similar enough in quality, there is something about the ‘105’ profile, and how it all comes together, that really wins me. Perhaps it’s the ‘cookie-like’ profile. It’s nice and baked, but a mix of savoury and sweet. Not your overly-sweet store-bought fluffy cake, but rather a soft cookie or a more dense coffee cake (on that note, it pairs really well with chewy white chocolate and craisin cookies!). In any case, I can see why maltmanics rave about Glenfarclas. Rest assured, I’m going to track down a bottle of the Glenfarclas 15 and give it it’s fair shake. The nose was spectacular, so I’m assuming I either over-watered it, or something else threw me off.