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  • Writer's pictureHarold


I had to make my first entry into the Glenfarclas "ledger" a special one, so reaching into some of the older samples I had from them seemed appropriate. Finding "old" 'Farclas isn't relatively all that difficult though, when you consider they're one of only a handful of distilleries able to stock a consistent 30 and 40 year old in their core range.

Glenfarclas (The Whisky Jury) "Secret Speyside" 1990/30 Year |24th Release| Refill Hogshead #Twj-Gl-1990 - 46.6%
Bottle Image Credit: Whiskybase

"Secret Speyside" (The Whisky Jury)

1990/30 Year |24th Release| Refill Hogshead Twj-Gl-1990 - 46.6%

TWJ thankfully took away some of the "secrecy" from this one by adding a couple of well placed letters into the cask number, as well as using a specific font on the labelling which is quite synonymous with a pretty popular Speyside distillery. Only 159 bottles were left from this refill hoggie after the angels had their way with it.

Appearance: Copper

First Whiff: Old lady perfume...not as "French" as the famous Bowmore-style though.

Nose: Super florally. Subdued with a curious complexity for me...not a lick of sweetness at first. Fresh cut wood, orange blossom and jasmine...the less pungent of the floral spectrum. Really have to dig deep to find some subtle fruits...cooked peaches and dried apricots.

Palate: Creamy, tart and tannic. A fair bit of peppery wood spice jumps out and blankets things initially, then settles into some clove-y scented, orange potpourri and sunflowers.

Finish: Fairly firm, kicking up some cinnamon dusted, gentle aromatic fruits along the way like lychee and rambutans.

Summary: Elegantly floral and complex, perhaps to a fault. This was a really different profile of 'Farclas for me...perhaps one of the reasons it not-so-shockingly ended up a "Secret" bottling. Although, this could of originally been sold off as new make a long time ago, as well...that's the bit of wonder which helps make a 30 year old single cask from such a popular distillery so "affordable."


Glenfarclas 1989/28 Year  |The Family Casks (Release W18)|  Sherry Butt #13010 - 51.4%
Bottle Image Credit: Whiskybase


1989/28 Year

|The Family Casks - Release Winter 2018|

Sherry Butt 13010 - 51.4%

Going off of what I remember (which is not much these days), I believe "Sherry Butt" is code for a 2nd fill cask, in this case and in terms of the Glenfarclas labeling system. With such a dark color coming out of it, I'm sure this cask is currently resting with some more spirit. If there's anyone that knows how to get as much use out of a sherry cask, it's Glenfarclas.

Edit: It was quickly pointed out to me that my memory was in fact, wrong (no surprise). "Sherry Butt" is actually code for a 1st fill use, and upon some further digging I was able to find that "Refill Sherry/Hogshead" means 2nd fill, "Refill" means 3rd fill, and "4th Fill" is pretty self-explanatory. (Thanks Alex!)

Appearance: Old oak.

First Whiff: Grape flavored Nerds and rainbow/seven layered cookies.

Nose: Dangerously rich. Tart red cherries covered in Christmas-y, cinnamon and clove spices...dipped in a chocolate fondue. Slightly resinous and musty. The style of sherry which creeps a little towards the grapey, cognac territory. Some red plums, and prunes as well with an underlying anise layer of smoke.

Palate: Medium-bodied, umami-rich now with a bit of creamy/oily dark chocolate and warm caramel. Root beer battles it out with some of the nutty/spice from the wood, forming a prickly prune juice sort of thing.

Finish: Warming with a spicy blanket of tart Welch's (concord) grape juice, finishes with a tantalizing medicinal grape flavored cough syrup note.

Summary: Water did very little. Would've liked a little more leather than spice on the palate, but this is very typical for modern day sherry bottlings. There's no doubt, this came from a rich, and still heavily active sherry cask though...which is why they're able to use them so many times.




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