Glenfarclas 10

Last week I reviewed the Glenfarclas 8—the malt that may or may not be the youngest age-stated malt in their lineup. The confusion stems from the fact that Winesearcher shows it on sale in many places in the EU (it was never available in the US) but Glenfarclas themselves don’t seem to list it on their website. The status of the 10 yo, however, is far clearer. Glenfarclas do not deny its existence on their website and it’s widely available everywhere, including the US. It may then be more accurate to say that this is effectively the entry-level malt in the Glenfarclas portfolio. In Minnesota it can be found in the low $30s but its average price nationally is $46. By the way, if you haven’t done so, you should check out the latest in Michael Kravitz’s annual parsing of production and price trends of Scotch whisky; the final entry in this year’s series lists, among other things, the rate of increase of price of most popular single malts—the Glenfarclas 10’s price has gone up almost 22% in the last 10 years. But what is it like? 

Like the 8 yo, the 10 yo is at 40% abv. It’s with the 12 yo that Glenfarclas move up to 43%.

Glenfarclas 10 (40%; from a bottle split)

Nose: A somewhat richer version of the 8 yo. That is to say, orange here too but with some dried orange peel and marmalade mixed in. No metallic note here. Very nice indeed. Like the 8 yo again, it gets maltier with water.

Palate: And on the palate too it’s basically a stepped up version of the 8 yo. More depth (flavour and texture) and no metallic or woody notes. The citrus expands with the second sip. With more time it’s a little bit cardboardy and a little nutty (along with bitter peels). Water pushes away the cardboard and the peels but keeps the nutty thing going.

Finish: Medium. Develops a bit of bite and bitterness but there’s nothing astringent in this one.

Comments: As I noted above, this tastes exactly like what it probably is: the 8 yo with a couple more years of maturity (I say “probably” because I have no idea if the cask composition of the 8 and 10 yo is the same). There’s no complexity to speak of but if you’re looking for an affordable, young lightly sherried malt you could do worse. Still it’s not in my top 5 malts in its general price range—maybe at 43% it would be? Now will the 12 yo be an even bigger step up?

Rating: 80 points.

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