I thought this was going to be a return to my untimely reviewing ways but in checking out the details on this whisky after tasting it I was surprised to discover that K&L (whose distillery exclusive this is) seem to still have a large amount of it left. I guess there’s only so many whiskies even David Driscoll can convince every breathless whisky geek in the US to shell out for. Or maybe it’s because this isn’t a single cask and we tend to get—for no good reason—more excited about single casks. It’s also possible that people got spooked by K&L’s description of the acquisition of the casks, which suggests that they were casks the distillery was unwilling to release as (more expensive) singles. As per Sku, the source of this sample, this was a vatting of two casks. K&L’s own copy suggests more than two casks: they refer to it as a “multi-cask” vatting “from a sequential lot of first fill Oloroso sherry butts”. But I’m sure Sku’s information is from the horse’s mouth (or whichever wind-spewing orifice you think is more appropriate in this case).
Glenfarclas 24, 1990 (50%; for K&L; from a sample received in a swap)
Nose: Regulation heavy sherry with raisins, orange peel, pencil lead, cola concentrate; some red fruit too (cherry). With more time there’s some chocolate and a whiff of wood smoke. Smells sort of thin though (if that makes any sense). With more time the orange is more pronounced but there’s still more cherry (or some other red fruit) than I would expect from oloroso sherry casks. With water there’s some toffee, some apricot and some wood.
Palate: As promised by the nose at first but there’s some savoury gunpowder here too which gives it an earthier base and a little more bite. The mouthfeel is indeed a little too thin and there’s not a lot of fruit. Not much interesting change with time: the gunpowder does transition to more of a tannic (but not offensive) wood note and the citrus gets a little brighter. Water doesn’t do as much for the palate, mostly bringing out sour wood and making it less earthy.
Finish: Medium. Not a lot of development except the gunpowder becomes more mushroomy as it goes. As on the palate with water.
Comments: Pleasant heavily sherried whisky but somewhat devoid of character and depth (though the nose does improve with time and water). As I am full of self-hatred I cannot recommend those qualities today. Kidding aside, closer to $100 this would be fine. At the current asking price ($170) I would pass without a second thought: you can do much better in the sherried whisky category at that price.
Rating: 85 points.
Thanks to Sku for the sample!