When this week’s series of reviews kicked off on Monday I said that it would fulfill three themes: all Hepburn’s Choice whiskies, all K&L exclusive casks, and all Speyside distilleries. I forgot a fourth category they all fulfill: they’re all teaspooned malts (i.e have had a small amount of malt of at least the same age but made at another distillery added to the cask so as to prevent it from being sold as a single malt from the distillery the cask originated in). So was Monday’s Mortlach 13, so was Wednesday’s Craigellachie 14, and so is today’s Glenfarclas which is one year older than the other two put together. Unlike the other two—and most/all of the other teaspooned malts in this round of K&L casks—the variant name used here, “Perhaps Speyside’s Finest” is not a one-off, though it represents a bit of scaling back of the claim. What I mean is that over the years the various Laing outfits have released a number of Glenfarclas casks under the label “Probably Speyside’s Finest”. I’ve reviewed a 22 yo that bore that label. I was not a huge fan of that one but I’ll try not to read too much into the greater uncertainty in this one’s name or in the fact that it’s from a refill barrel and not a sherry cask—I’ve not generally had a lot of good luck with other older Glenfarclas from bourbon casks (see here). Anyway, let’s get into it and see what’s what.
Perhaps Speyside’s Finest/Glenfarclas 28, 1992 (46.9%; Hepburn’s Choice for K&L; refill barrel; from a bottle split)
Nose: A nice dose of lemon and wax with some richer fruit coming up behind (pineapple) along with some oak. The tropical complex from the palate begins to make its presence felt here too as it sits but doesn’t quite burst through. Water brings out more of the rich fruit but also a bit of a metallic note.
Palate: Comes in as promised by the nose at first but then there’s a big burst of sweet tropical fruit as I swallow—pineapple mixed with sweet mango and lychee. The texture is quite rich for 46.9%. On the second sip the tropical fruit is joined by ripe peach. As it sits the oak asserts itself a little more but the fruit is still the main story. Okay, let’s see what water does. It brightens it up mostly but dilutes the impact of the fruit.
Finish: Medium-long. The fruit builds and then wanes very quickly. Develops as on the palate. The finish is longer with water and more acidic.
Notes: Wow, this was a great fruity surprise. It was probably sold out long before I got my share of the bottle split but if I’d tasted it when it was still available I would have got a couple of bottles at the price (which was $150). This is a fruity profile I really love. A little less of the oak and my score would be even higher—as you will see this is not one that requires an accompanying EW! Rating to help my pals at K&L feel good about themselves. If you have a full bottle (lucky you) I’d suggest going easy on the water—but that’s based on just one pour. Okay, let’s hope this sets the tone for the remaining casks from this lot that I haven’t got to yet.
Rating: 91 points.