It is a rare and special thing to experience something from the time of your birth. Newspapers, music and, for the younger among you, television and video evoke a very special sentiment. It is an even rarer thing to be able to consume something from that time with such a finality as drinking a dram. When it is gone, it is gone forever.
What a wonderful way to cap off a year at work, sitting on my balcony, overlooking Sydney, nursing a dram of Glenfarclas 1978, the third release of the family cask.
Glenfarclas is a Speyside malt, from a town called Ballindalloch. Purchased by John Grant in 1865, the truly independent distiller is still run by his descendants.
The distillery has been putting down hogshead barrels since 1952, with some years having a second release too. These family casks provide a wandering record of the seasons in the Speyside, and their effect on the whisky that’s made there.
The whisky itself is light on the nose, like many Speyside examples. I think it smells nutty like rye grass when it’s cut, sweet and fresh. The Glenfarclas site does a much finer job with their prosaic description:
For a refill cask, this whisky has a lovely copper colour.
A light fragrant nose of earthy notes mixed with fresh dew on a summer day.
It’s definitely a summery whisky with fresh herbs and fresh grass cuttings coming through. Quite floral.
The finish is elegant and surprisingly long. Just when you think you have lost the flavour, it reappears again. A great whisky that’s probably preferable before, rather than after, dinner.
As I enjoy it in Sydney’s sunny heat, the summery references feel right on the money. The taste is boozy toffee apples and perhaps due to its proximity, Christmas.
The finish is indeed, Epic. Spicy grass and lemon pepper. The 57.60% carries the taste a long way back, the caramel carries on too…
At a couple of hundred quid, it is for most, a fairly decent investment. If it isn’t buy a few and really check things out. You can buy it here, and they’ll also do you a dram to enjoy for a more achievable 12.25, of those slightly weakened Pounds Sterling.
There’s something very special about drinking fine old spirit.
Whisky, like most spirit at their origin and in their native tongue, was called by a name made up from a set of words that carried the meaning – Water of Life.
Over long periods many things change, but life perseveres in the most vibrant and touching ways.