Glenfarclas Family Cask 1978 46.3%

Matured for 26 years in a refill hogshead, cask number 590, bottled 26.05.2011.

Nose: Dry wood and wood varnish. Hints of rum-raisin. Water emphasises the raisins a bit, and I get fruit compote associations, but the overwehlming impression is of wood.

Palate: Oaky bitterness, wood and bitter, dark chocolate. No noticeable change with water added.

Comments: Too woody. Though the same age (maturation-wise) than the 1980, the oak has been slightly more active here and has taken over, flattening the taste profile. It’s not bad-tasting, just boring.

Thanks to Geir Tore for the sample.

Glenfarclas Family Cask 1980 50.1%

Cask number 1942. Distilled 29.02.1980, bottled 28.02.2007, 26 years, from a refill sherry butt.

Nose: Slightly bitter wood, alchohol-drenched cherries in dark chocolate. Does not change notably with water, other than acquiring a slight orange peel note.

Palate: More wood, less fruit. Varnished wooden bench. The varnish approaches acetone with water, but the water also adds something fruity, possibly banana.

Comments: Approaching the “too woody” age. It’s still drinkable, but I’d have bottled it earlier.

Thanks to Geir Tore for the sample.

Glenfarclas Family Cask 1985 46.3%

Distilled 02.09.1985, bottled 28.02.2007, matured in a refill sherry hogshead, cask number 2826.

Nose: The immediate impression is wood, but then I find tart, dark plums and dark chocolate. After some time in the glass it offers up sweeter fruits; ripe cherries and also a hint of marzipan. With water the fruit tends towards orange marmelade with a hint of aniseed. Even later I find apple compote.

Palate: Plum in Madeira, rum-soaked cherries; fruit in spirits, that is… and dark chocolate. Candied oranges, too, and wood, but in no way overwhelming wood. The palate is rounded off with water and gets more of a milk chocolate character.

Comments: Dessert. The clear favourite of the three vintages I’m tasting this evening. Its oaky character makes its age obvious, but the oak has not yet overwhelmed the spirit, and the whisky may be at its peak, at least as far as “the preserves shelf in the pantry”, there is fruit conserved in any number of ways here.

Thanks to Geir Tore for the sample.

Glenfarclas 30 years 43%

Nose: Fruity, red currant and melon, cinnamon, vanilla and oak, but the oak is quite muted. With water I find dark chocolate and cherries, but also fresh apples.

Palate: More oak on the palate. A bit of chewing on sauna planks. Also some apricot jam and orange marmelade. With water it develops a bit of oaky bitterness and singed caramel sauce.

Comments: Lovely nose, just a tad too woody on the palate to make the “very drinkable” segment. A nice dram, in any case.

Another sample I cannot remember the origin for, thanks to whoever it may concern.