Review: Glenfarclas 105 Single Malt Scotch Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

Glenfarclas 105.jpg
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Glenfarclas (Ballindaloch, Scotland)

This is a big whisky - the heavily sherried spirit from Glenfarclas, bottled at a whopping 60% (105 UK proof, hence the name). This is one of the most common and most talked about "sherry monsters" alongside other well known whiskies such as Aberlour A'Bunadh.

Review (2016)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2015

Earthy, with vanilla, and a bit of sherry funk. Tastes and smells a bit young and raw. Cacao, bitter almond, wildflower honey, hazelnut/caramel chocolates (like toffifee), black tea– and a bit spicy. On the palate, black tea, tasting a bit young – sherry, obviously, and almond, roasted walnuts,  white raisins, and with some typical clove and cinnamon as well. The finish is big, as expected at this ABV – but not that complicated. A good dose of tannin, too.

The strength is nice, and it very much fits into the profile of a sherry monster (as expected) – big sherry, at big abv. However, amidst some of the other fantastic sherry monsters out there (A’Bunadh, GlenDronach CS, Tamdhu BS) this one doesn’t have the complexity or flair of the others. As proof, if you dilute this down to say, 45%, and compare to a 45% Tamdhu, GlenDronach CS, or A’Bunadh you’ll easily see what I mean.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average, at $84.

Review (2020)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: L 26 03 19 3 11:26 BB

  • Bottling Date: 2019

It’s been some time since I had the last of these (in fact, I’ve only ever had one batch) – and I was craving some sherry monsters this winter and decided to go away from my usual A’Bunadh (which, apparently, is about to jump in price). Lots of wine on the nose (especially if you don’t add water) – sherry, mixed nuts, roasted macadamias, raisin – and lots of spices, woody notes, a nice rich woody spiciness – cinnamon, clove – and, orange too. So, lots of complexity. Toffee, fig bars, and some more rich confectionary notes. This doesn’t nose as young as previous batches.

The palate is warm, rich, spicy, and loaded with dark fruit and nuts. Excellent! I quite like the stuff – the flavour seeps into all corners of the mouth. Nice rich woodiness, some milk chocolate, caramel, and more baking spices.

The finish is somewhat sticky, with raisins, orange peel, baking spice, and with some nice spicy oak characteristics at the end (quite like a good cognac).

Well, I was very pleasantly surprised here. After my last one, which was a little disappointing, I’ve stayed off this one – but at a loss. This is a terrific whisky. And, I expect, it’ll get better with a bit of air in the bottle. After looking at a few reviews, looks like this one might vary a bit from batch to batch.

Very Highly Recommended (18% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Upper end of average, at $95. Good value for Scotch single malt, if that’s what you are after.