I’m not sure Glenfarclas did a particularly good thing this year, at the Spirit of Speyside festival.
First of all, they released a ten year old whisky for £115. Secondly, they split the cask between Taiwan and the UK, meaning there were half the number of bottles of last year’s release. Thirdly, they made people queue up because of the limited numbers, going on sale at 10am on each morning of the festival (apart from one day when it randomly was not open) and the bottles were sold by approximately 10.30am each of those mornings.
People were, quite frankly, very annoyed. And even those who did pick up the bottle were wondering if the value was really in the same ball park as last year’s festival release – which was more than twice the age for just a few more quid (and there were plenty of bottles to go around).
What was the reason for this? Who can say. Perhaps it was to stop people buying loads to drop off at auction, but then I don’t think that’s a major problem – it’s part of the culture these days and they can prepare for it. Was it to focus on doing things for the festival during the day and limiting the period of selling this? Again, last year it did not seem an issue and, anyway, there were plenty of bottles around. And it’s not as though the distillery was putting on anything else special for the festival that might have warranted more focus. Worried about stock levels? Not an issue at Glenfarclas. No, it’s all a bit of a curious decision really, to put out such a young, expensive and limited bottle, and then force people to wait an hour in the cold just to be able to buy one.
Anyway. I have waffled on about Glenfarclas quite enough recently, so regular readers will know I am a fan of this place, their usual prices, and their general approach to whisky. However, that does not mean I can’t point out a bit of silliness when I see it.
Let’s get on with the whisky itself. The Glenfarclas Spirit of Speyside 2017 Distillery Exclusive was bottled at 59.4% ABV and was distilled in 2007. Only 369 bottles were available.
Glenfarclas Spirit of Speyside 2017 Distillery Exclusive Review
Colour: auburn. Very active wood.
On the nose: cola, raisins figs. It’s rather meaty, with olives and sun-dried tomatoes. Very heady stuff. Muscovado sugar sweetness and maple syrup, then bringing notes of leather and, interesting, tarragon.
In the mouth: velvety texture, as is the way with Glenfarclas: again cola, with bitter dark chocolate, maple syrup, molasses even, and notes of game meat. Soft tannins, tobacco and black tea. It’s intense, with a long finish of figs and pepper.
A fine Glenfarclas indeed. But at this age, and at this price. And really, it was just a good dram – nothing special for the distillery’s quality nor for the event. They can knock this sort of thing out all the time.
Which makes me think this ended up just simply being a bad move. I will be honest: if Glenfarclas do this again next year – similar price, similar young whisky, similar limited number – I won’t be queuing up for it.