Single malt whisky - tasting notes

18 Aug 2010

Glenfarclas 1968 (#5240 + #702 for Thosop)

Posted by: Ruben Luyten In: Glenfarclas

This story starts a few months ago, when Glenfarclas collector and connoisseur Luc Timmermans poured me a dram from a sample bottle and told me it would be the successor of his rather legendary Glenfarclas 1968 cask #699, bottled last year. Luc is following the 1968 casks (his birth year) for a long time and it was clear that he had found another Glenfarclas gem, albeit with a rather heavy sherry influence. The former cask was very sensual and silky and to appreciate this new one you really had to be a sherry lover. Still I was looking forward to the bottling date.

 

Glenfarclas cask samples Then, a couple of weeks ago, I received four mystery samples with no further information. “One of them will be my next bottling”, Luc said, “I’m considering different options again, let me know what you think”. So I tasted them all and had two clear favourites.

 

Afterwards, it turned out to be a nifty selection (left to right in the picture):

  • The first sample had lots of chocolate truffle, dried figs, forest fruits, mint and walnuts. Very intense but not really subtle. It reminded me of the one I had tasted before and indeed, it was the same cask #702, a first fill Cream sherry hogshead (February 1968).
  • Sample n°2 clearly had a different maturation. It showed old roses, wax, precious wood and a whole range of herbs and spices (sage, thyme, cloves). This was just as intense but in another direction, with more obvious woody notes. It was drawn from cask #5240, a first fill Fino cask (which is not very common). Distilled December 1968.
  • The third sample was the most vivid one. It showed dried fruits as well as fresh red fruits, mixed with nice touches of oak polish and spices. After half an hour in the glass, this one really stood out. It was clearly the most balanced so far. Afterwards it turned out to be a vatting of the two others. One and one is three, no… four!
  • Finally there was a placebo: it was last year’s cask #699. I didn’t recognize it, but I discovered some new elements, which proves that it surely was a complex whisky.

 

No need to tell you that I preferred n°3 and n°4 in the blind tasting. Another great Glenfarclas was ready to be bottled!

The casks will be bottled as we speak, on this very day, and we can expect the bottles to be available soon. It’s great to see that Glenfarclas was willing to modify the official Family Cask label and blend in the hand-written style of the other Thosop bottlings. Very clever!

 

Glenfarclas 1968 ThosopGlenfarclas 41 yo 1968 (49,7%, OB 2010 for Thosop, cask #702 & 5240, 318 btl.)

Nose: the sweeter sherry is easy to notice, but it shows much more layers. There’s a fresh layer of sweet fruits (mirabelles, redcurrant marmalade, lovely ripe tangerine and even raspberry jelly) and a darker layer of dried fruits (dates, raisins), chocolate and toffee. And a third layer of spices, oak polish, cigar boxes and some mint and eucalyptus. Just a hint of dusty oak and old leather book covers in the background. After some time it gets more playful, the fruits becomes bigger and the masculine side of the sherry makes place for a feminine softness and sweetness. A thrilling nose with awesome complexity. Mouth: a firm attack. There are woody notes, prunes, lots of dark chocolate and some cold coffee. A few notes that remind me of a meat sauce with wine (must be the mix of sherry with the herbal elements). A little mint and soft pepper. Fig and blackcurrant jam. A tad less wide than on the nose but really impressive at this age. Finish: long, drying, with lingering fruits.

 

In a way, this is like a richer, more powerful version of the official Glenfarclas 40yo: it shows different types of Glenfarclas style (with just two casks!), mixed together to create an even better result. Not nearly as elegant as last year’s cask #699, but just as good in its own style. Now let’s stop typing and simply enjoy…

Score: 93/100

Glenfarclas 1968 (#5240 + #702 for Thosop) 5 Ruben Luyten 2010-08-18
  • Charlie

    Oh my god, 93 points, again!!!

  • anthony

    less fruity than the cask 699?

  • http://www.whiskynotes.be Ruben

    A different kind of fruitiness… #699 was more on marshmallow / raspberry / wax / cake, while this one has much more dried fruits / marmalade / fig paste. It’s more typically sherried (because of the first fill oloroso #702), but it’s very complex.

  • Stuart

    Any idea on price yet?

  • http://www.whiskynotes.be Ruben

    It’s € 295 again, pre ordering is possible in different stores, and a sample is available here: http://tinyurl.com/2ehz3bp

  • Michael

    Great review, Ruben. Thank you.

  • http://blog.thewhiskyexchange.com Tim F

    Nice work, Ruben – I’m jealous. Love the label as well.

  • MARS

    Tryed this one last week, it is much more to my liking than the cask 699

  • Charlie

    I just received this Glenfarclas 1968. The lable is really, antique-looking? :)

  • http://www.whiskynotes.be Ruben

    It’s the usual look of Thosop labels. They have a parchment texture with hand-written text. See for example http://www.whiskynotes.be/2010/deanston/deanston-1977-thosop/ This 1968 is a mixture between the traditional Glenfarclas label and the Thosop label.

  • Charlie

    I see. In contrast to the Glenfarclas 1968 cask #699, this one is quite dark. Do you know if both casks #702 and 5240 were already dark in the first place?

  • http://www.whiskynotes.be Ruben

    They are in the picture above. #702 is the first sample from the left, #5240 is the second sample. The third one is the actual release, the vatting of both.

  • Charlie

    Oops, sorry. I forgot to read the above. Thank you.

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WhiskyNotes - Ruben LuytenThis blog is my personal collection of impressions, written while searching for the ultimate single malt whisky.