Glenfarclas 24, 1990 (for K&L)

Glenfarclas 24, 1990
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!

5 thoughts on “Glenfarclas 24, 1990 (for K&L)

  1. Much agreed.

    This is sherry for sherry’s sake and not much else. I found the bottle of competent quality, but not interesting to say the least, and honestly, it was incredibly one-note to me.

    This is WAY too much of an asking price for what the bottle offers, which is not much outside of its provenance. It’s been sitting for quite some time, so I don’t know if stock it’s just super plentiful but humming along steadily, or people tried it once, never repurchased, and it’s all just sitting on the shelves.

    It’ll be interesting to see how much they discount this when the 2015 casks start arriving. Honestly, even at $100 I don’t know that I’d buy another bottle. There’s just to much incredible stuff at that price point.

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    • Yeah, when you start thinking of what else you could get on the sherried spectrum for $100 (or close) in the US it doesn’t really seem competitive, does it? Amrut Intermediate Sherry, Glendronach Revival, A’bunadh, Bunnahabhain 18, Highland Park 18, Tomatin 18 etc. And that’s before you get to all the indie single cask options. And if you open it up to non-sherried options it becomes an even harder sell.

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