Glenfarclas 17

Can it be that I’ve not yet reviewed a Glenfarclas? Well, let’s set that right. This Speyside distillery, owned by the Grant family (not to be confused with the other Grant family, William Grant & Sons, who own Glenfiddich, Balvenie etc.) has a rather extensive lineup of whiskies. Their regular range includes 10 yo, 12 yo, 15 yo, 17 yo, 21 yo, 25 yo, 30 yo and 40 yo whiskies. And since the late-2000s they’ve been releasing single casks in their “Family Casks” series that goes all the way back to casks put down in 1952.

I’ve not had any of the more ancient vintages, but do appreciate that the distillery gives us such a range of their malt and that they keep their prices for the regular range within the budget of regular drinkers.

Glenfarclas don’t bother with fancy decanters and presentation boxes for the older stuff and don’t monkey around with cask finishes for any of their stuff. Sherried whisky is what they are known for and sherried whisky is what they give us (though from this old interview conducted by the Malt Maniacs I learned that in their regular range everything is composed, or was then at any rate, from 60% ex-sherry and 40% ex-bourbon cask matured whisky). Today I am tasting the 17 yo.

Glenfarclas 17 (43%; from a sample received in a swap)

Nose: Nice sherry notes–not so very different at first from the nose of the Blair Athol 12: chocolate, citrus, caramel, some toffee. More wood here than smoke. Gets quite briny with time and also more citrussy. A chicory like note emerges as well with more time and the toffee expands as well.

Palate: Dusty wood at first and then citrus and light caramel. The chocolate/chicory notes intensify with the second and third sip and there’s also more wood spice now–a touch of tingling clove. Gets maltier with time and there’s more toffee on the palate now too.

Finish: Medium. Mostly the wood spice here and finally some sherry separates from the whisky.

Comments: Wonderfully balanced and really very nice. I am going to have to get a bottle.

Thanks to jsaliga for the sample!

Rating: 86 points.

7 thoughts on “Glenfarclas 17

  1. Have you tried the Glenfarclas 105? To me, that’s the top of the range – though I haven’t gone in the 20+ region. I’ve somehow always found the Glenfarclas a little coarse, blunt. 10, 12, 15, 17. I suppose it’s part of their charm, doing things the old-fashioned way, and so forth. But the 105 is just amazingly elegant, and the best sherried OB whisky under $100 that I found.


    • I’ve only had a bit of the regular 105 (under less than optimal conditions) and actually found it a bit rough. My own favourite among the <20 yo crowd is the 15 yo. I should give the 105 another try. I do have a small sample of the older 105 (the 20 yo) as well, but not enough for any sort of review.


  2. Buying sample bottles and printing your own labels are recognized clinical stages of Whisky Mania, as per DSM-5 – I’m surprised at you that you are not there yet, Mongo!


      • I’m afraid extreme laziness is not a differential diagnosis. There is still hope for you! On the other hand, you do have a blog, and you’ve been singled out by Sku, so…


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