The Glenfarclas 40 was first released in 2010. It got very good reviews, not least for its very fair price. In the US the retail price was less than $500 and in practice it could be found relatively easily for the next year or two for quite a bit less than that. This was very Glenfarclas. While most original releases of this age were and are released in fancy decanters with ludicrous packaging at prices far above $1000, Glenfarclas just popped their 40 year old in the same bottle and tube in which they sell their 10 yo and put the price in reach of regular punters. This used to be the case with their 30 yo too: not long ago it could easily be found in the UK for just above £100—and their 21 and 25 yo malts have always been very fairly priced vis a vis most of the rest of the market as well. For this reason, perhaps, no one has ever begrudged Glenfarclas for the higher prices on some of their Family Casks releases: they’ve always done right by regular drinkers. That said, the price of the 30 yo has gone up of late and I’m not sure what the status of the 40 yo is—the price being asked for it now in the US is quite a bit higher than $500, and I’m not sure if that’s for what’s left of the original release or if there have been more releases since. If you can shed light on any of this please write in below.
Glenfarclas 40 (46%; from a sample from a friend)
Nose: Fruity sherry with orange peel, raisins; plus some cola and a touch of mint. Barely any oak to speak of. The fruit gets a little richer and a little brighter as it sits and there’s some maple syrup too. With time the fruit gets stickier (figs, plum sauce) and jammier. With a drop of water some toffee and butterscotch join the party.
Palate: Oakier here but not tannic. All the stuff from the nose is here plus some chocolate (about 72%); a little burst of tropical fruit as I swallow. Just a little too thin texture-wise. A little more wood on the second and third sips but really nothing even close to overbearing. The fruit gets a little cough syrupy. With more time the oak gets more pronounced and just a touch too bitter. As sometimes happens, the texture actually improves with a bit of water and the oak recedes as well; more brightly citrussy now.
Finish: Long. The tropical fruit continues for a while and is joined by some cracked black pepper. With time the more pronounced oak shows up here too. As on the palate with water.
Comments: This is really very good. The nose is the best part, in my opinion. Neat, it’s a little thin on the palate (though this may well be an artifact of it being a sample that I’ve had around for a long time) and gets just a bit too oaky. It reminded me a bit of the fabulous 1968 I reviewed recently but doesn’t quite rise to that level. Still, kudos to Glenfarclas for having released this at the price they originally did. I liked the nose better neat and the palate better with water.
Rating: 90 points.
Thanks to Sku for the sample! (Though he’s probably forgotten he ever gave it to me.)