Glenfarclas Aged 12 Years, 43% ABV

This is (or was before the introduction of the 10 years aged) the base model in the Glenfarclas stable of single malt whiskies. All of the expressions of the Glenfarclas malts are ex-sherry casked whiskies from this smallish family owned and managed distillery. See my blog about this distillery and it being among my top three favorites.

The 12 is a classic wee sherry beastie, a rich deep amber colored dram with a wonderfully dry sherry nose of pear, dried fruit and winter spices. Contrast this with some of the syrupy sweet sherry bombs put out by other distillers, such as Dalmore’s travel exclusive Valour. The 43% ABV gives this dram little interference from alcohol on either the nose or palate while not coming across as weak or wimpy.

The palate is relatively soft and sweet, with hints of pineapple, cinnamon, and orange zest tantalizing the tongue with a long, almost creamy and peppery finish. The ex-sherry barrel influence is unmistakeable. Before trying the rest of this distillery’s expressions, one should start here for reference.

It used to be that the Glenfarclas 12 was a great, inexpensive alternative to the classic Macallan 12. However, the price point I see is no longer off from the $50-$60 for the similar Macallan 12, which is a sweeter whisky. However, if one wants to try a smaller production whisky from a classic Speyside producer not owned by a spirits conglomerate, go ahead and pull the trigger on this single malt. You won’t regret it, and the degree of lack of regret grows to pure joy as one goes from the 12 years aged expression to the 17 years aged and beyond.