Thanks to /u/kinohead for this sample.
The names of the following story have been changed, as I don’t actually know their names.
It’s a typical day at the Glenfarclas distillery. Jim, head guy, is enjoying some of the new music on his awesome walkman. He gets ready to meet with the head distillery.
Sammy, the head of the distillery, enters with Jim’s assistant, Mirabelle. She looks distressed, and Sammy has that look in his eyes.
That look got them through the 80s, but at what cost.
This was going to be a long, long meeting.
Sammy starts into just as he walks in “We’re not 100% attached to using only the sherry casks”
“That’s the entire point of our lineup! Look, Jim will agree with me!” Mirabelle strikes back.
Jim stares at them, wondering what caused the recent strife this time.
“What’s going on?”
Both of them dart in his direction, realizing they’ve made it to the meeting. On cue everyone is sitting. Mirabelle with a full notebook, strong posture. Sammy with a hunched over expression, worker’s uniform, and wild hand gestures.
A sign starts it off. “So Jim, we found some ex-bourbon casks in a recent inventory check up. I recommended we use them to trade to other distilleries for additional sherry casks. But then Sammy saw them, and… well.”
Sammy interjects. “I’m allowed to do that Mirabelle. I have a decent amount of power here to decide what I want to use.”
“That’s great Sammy, but our entire lineup is based on vatting of various sherry casks. The additional sherry casks would have saved us cash. I think they’ll be rare in the future.”
“Poppycock Mirabelle! Everyone will always be able to get sherry casks! I need artistic freedom!”
Jim finally holds up a hand, like some sort of calm king. “If I’m following what happened, we ended up using the ex-bourbon casks?”
Silence drifts in, and both of professionals look on, nodding.
“Mirabelle, I appreciate you coming in and trying to save us money. However we have to give Sammy his freedom. And who knows, this could be good?” Mirabelle nods. “And Sammy, please tell Mirabelle before you use things. This could end up something we can’t use, and we’ll have to sell them off to Independent Bottlers. We just came out of a rough decade.”
Both of the children walk away, nodding.
And that’s how I imagine this came to be. Glenfarclas 25 Cadenhead’s Authentic Collection 1990-2015 was created as a way to see if ex-bourbon could hold it’s own. And we’ve seen a few come out of the early 90s.
So let’s see how this tastes, shall we?
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Distillation Date: 1990
Bottling Date: April 2015
Maturing: Ex-bourbon hogshead
Number of bottles: 192
Colour: 5Y 9/8
Nose: Brookside blueberry chocolate, peach Bellini, red licorice, cashew caramel, ginger tea, lemon pudding
Big chocolate and fruit notes. Jim made the right call. Good on you Jim.
Quite complex. The ginger is light, the sweetness works well with it, and there’s just the right amount of acid.
Taste: Peach syrup, honey, manure, black pepper, dusty, caramel dip, cola
Odd. When I normally have Glenfarclas, there’s no farmyard or earthy elements. But this is made up of sugar and animal poop.
Or what I call a Thursday.
Seriously though, this is quite interesting. I didn’t expect this from a Glenfarclas. A lot of caramel given time to open up.
Finish: Caramel, orange, whipped cream, brine, lime pie, yeast, green melon, toothpaste, Cherry chocolate cake
Big finish. Tons and tons of sweet notes, lots of butter elements, an odd toothpaste and yeast note, and eventually hits just about every type of note that one could find from whisky.
Oddly enough this ends with a cherry chocolate cake flavour. It’s quite present.
Conclusion: This is the Glenfarclas answer to Bruichladdich Black Arts. Tons of different flavours, unique elements, and something that just doesn’t say “Glenfarclas”. Sammy had a good hunch.
He ended up marrying Mirabelle, who took over the company. And then Nirvana came, so Jim had good music to listen to.
Anyway, back to the dram: It’s super fruity on the nose, has a balanced amount of developed earth and sweets on the taste, and a really nice, if mental, finish.
Really good pick by Cadenhead’s. Makes me want to try more ex-bourbon on Glenfarclas’.
Scotch review #558, Speyside review #170, Whisky Network review #918