cascode

Glenfarclas 40 Year

Single Malt — Highlands, Scotland

Tasted August 3, 2019
4.5
4.5 out of 5 stars
Nose: A big, old oloroso sherry note, nutty oak aromas and dark cocoa dominate the initial nose. Next, dark fruits (figs, dates, plums), raisins, pineapple chunks and oranges emerge, simmering in a broth of resinous honey, brown sugar and sweet malt extract spiced with ginger, cinnamon, cloves and buttery vanilla that comes in waves. A heavy, dusky floral note emerges later and there is a whiff of leathery smoke and black coffee on the dry glass. Palate: A wonderful arrival, creamy and soft to start with and highlighting sweet honey, sugars, mint and baking spices (allspice, caraway) with a touch of white pepper. Oak and dark chocolate appear quickly afterward along with figs and roasted nuts as the palate turns momentarily tannic and dry. However this is followed in turn by a wave of sweeter tones featuring citrus fruit, ginger, cherries, raspberries and a return of the oloroso sherry. The fruity tones are not like the heavy stewed fruits found in the palate of the 25 or 30 year old expressions, but a combination of dark dried and fresh fruits - like a platter of oranges, dark cherries and dried muscatel grapes. The texture is oily, but drying, with a rancio quality and a hint of walnut oil. Finish: Medium/long. Dark fruits and sherry fade to an aftertaste of sweet spicy ginger, white pepper, oaky tannins and espresso. A wonderful old malt that exemplifies the Glenfarclas profile, from its lustrous mahogany colour (unsullied by the taint of artificial colouring) to its lingering sweet/dry oaky finish. I chose this for my 500th review on Distiller as it is an iconic malt that I have never previously tasted, but which is available widely at a comparatively very reasonable price. The whisky was tasted as the finale of a flight of Glenfarclas expressions, comprising the 10, 12, 17, 25 and 40 year olds that I shared with two whisky mates who dropped over for an afternoon of cards and drams a few weekends ago. The only criticism we had of the 40, and we all felt this, was that the finish was a touch short. However this was only apparent as it was tasted following the 25 year old, which has remarkable length. In comparison to almost anything else the finish on this 40 year old would seem quite lengthy. All Glenfarclas whiskies require time in the glass before they reveal themselves fully but nowhere is this more so than with this magisterial old malt. I poured the drams and left them to stand covered, and as this whisky was tasted at the end of the flight it had about an hour or more to compose itself. Even so, when its time came the whisky was still just barely beginning to open. The weather was cold and drizzling (it's winter here in Australia right now) so we nursed the glasses in our hands to gently warm then while we sat at the dining table, chatting about all things whisky and occasionally pausing to listen to the rain in companionable silence as we sniffed our drams. After about 20 minutes we noticed the spirit starting to reveal itself, and then spent another half hour dissecting and discussing the whisky's merits, and enjoying its warm glow. A stately, refined and dignified whisky that was a special delight to taste, the pleasure which it provided being eclipsed only by the comradeship of my good friends Warwick and Anthony (KT66 here on Distiller) in whose estimable company I was privileged to enjoy it. "Excellent" : 4.5 stars
1400.0 AUD per Bottle
  • ContemplativeFox
    August 10, 2020

    As someone who has no fear of showing up late to the party on a thread, I'd like to also thank you for this excellent review and congratulate you on both reaching 500 reviews and celebrating with such a luxurious and iconic dram! Thank you in particular in this review for comparing it with the 25 - an all-time favorite of mine. I think like @Dreaming-of-Islay I will prefer the 25 to the 40, but I still hope to some day share a bottle of this with some friends in celebration of a similar milestone. Cheers!

  • jonwilkinson7309
    August 10, 2020

    I can only echo the others who've beat to it - I thoroughly enjoy all of your reviews! And most of all, I really appreciate the time you take to answer questions from those of us who are in a much different place on the whiskey learning curve! Cheers.

  • Anthology
    August 10, 2020

    Sharp, incisive review! I just picked up a bottle this past weekend, no small thanks to your review. I have some older grain+malt whiskeys from IBs but this is my first legit 40Yr single malt from an established distillery. If I ever get to 500 reviews, this will be a contender to celebrate it for sure. Cheers mate!

  • LeeEvolved
    August 5, 2019

    @Whiskali - thanks for the views and the kind words. I can also say that even though it’s only been open about a week- it’s getting better. The Glen Moray aspect has stayed quiet and let the Ardbeg shine through. It’s good stuff.

  • Whiskali
    August 5, 2019

    Great DD video @LeeEvolved! I had never heard of Serendipity; what a funky combo. Have to believe it was an accident because who would even think of combining Ardbeg with Glen Moray! Looking forward to reading your review on how that bottle develops. Cheers

  • Dreaming-of-Islay
    August 5, 2019

    Congrats on #500 and enjoy the festival if you end up going! My personal favorite Glenfarclas is the 25 for the reasons you mentioned in the review, the 40 is a bit too old for my tastes.

  • Soba45
    August 5, 2019

    @cascode Definitely would be! It's a great festival. It's not a money making thing so heaps of room, limited numbers. You get to chat to the distillers. 5 hours each day went by in a blur. Really awesome time. I still have the book from last time which I can email you the list of whiskies from so you get an idea of what's on offer to assess its worth if you like?

  • cascode
    August 5, 2019

    @Soba45 Hmm ... there's a thought. Mrs Cascode and her mother are doing a Europe tour in the spring next year but I can't join them due to work - but a couple of days in Christchurch ... hmm. Actually I was thinking of a lightning visit to Scotland to go to the Campbeltown festival (any excuse to visit Springbank again) but Aotearoa is a lot cheaper.

  • Soba45
    August 5, 2019

    @cascode Sweet as. My wife has next dibs on a trip away and we are away again over xmas, ny so I think I've used my quota for '19! There is Dramfest 2020 next March in Christchurch which is definitely worth going to. 250+ whiskies for around $130 for 2 days no extra cost. Great experience. I'll be down with mates and highly recommend it!

  • cascode
    August 5, 2019

    @Soba45 I'll let you know if anything really good is coming up - there is the Sydney Whisky Show on August 31, but I'm not going. It's just about all Australian whiskies, and I'm already familiar with pretty much everything on the card.

  • Soba45
    August 5, 2019

    @cascode Yes definitely. Been nearly 20 years since I lived in Sydney... well overdue for a visit. Can get flights from wellington for $149NZ the moment. Flights to Perth were cheap as well. $450 return to wellington!

  • cascode
    August 5, 2019

    Many thanks for your kind words, they are much appreciated. @LeeEvolved I guessed you were busy with the next DD episode - I've been keeping an eye out for it. @Whiskali Very gratifying to know that my opinions are of some help, thank's so much for the feedback! @Soba45 If you make it to Sydney some time we should meet up - maybe time it for when the Oak Barrel is doing something special? @Rick_M Ha! Thank you - I'll try to keep the prose purple :-)

  • Rick_M
    August 4, 2019

    @cascode - I wish I got a nickel every time I’ve said “I think that’s his best review.” Congrats on your 500th page. :)

  • Soba45
    August 4, 2019

    Great review as always mate and congrats on reaching the 500 mark! I'll be visiting your fair shores next month. Heading over to Perth and then Melbourne so not your way (I'd like to get back to Sydney one day). hopefully get to pop down to Margaret River, across to Swann Valley for the wines and check out the local distillery scene as well. Keep up the great reviews!

  • Whiskali
    August 4, 2019

    Congrats on 500 reviews! And thank you; I have learned so much from reading your reviews. This distiller community has continued to fuel my interest/excitement to explore more whiskies. Sounds like you rang it in with an epic one!

  • LeeEvolved
    August 4, 2019

    Wow, now that’s how you ring in number 500! I didn’t have the courage to open anything as magical for my 500th- which is coming tomorrow (I’ve held off on posting for over 2 weeks as I filmed another segment for @Generously_Paul’s Dapper Drams YouTube channel.) This was a wonderful review for a whisky I’ll not likely ever get to try. What a great way to ring it in properly. Cheers, sir, and here’s to 500 more!