House of Sobel was a wine and spirits company in California. It existed from 1946 until 1988. Although I had never heard the name, it looks like they imported Glenfarclas releases into the US.
The back label of this Glenfarclas 21 Years Old talks about the distillery and also tells us the 1955 vintage was highly acclaimed at that time. Does it mean this was distilled in 1955? That would also mean it was bottled after 1976. The fact that there is no ‘Glenlivet’ after Glenfarclas seems to confirm the 1970s timing. On the other hand Grant Bonding Co (a Glenfarclas subsidiary) was closed in 1972 so that would indicate a distillation date before 1951. The jury is undecided.
Glenfarclas 21 yo (43%, Grant Bonding Co for House of Sobel import, 1970s, 75 cl)
Nose: outstanding. It’s one of these noses that are so integrated that it’s hard to pin down aromas. Fruitcake and all kinds of honey. Hints of apricot jam. A little eucalyptus. Polished oak. It surprised me how there’s a brandy-like quality to it, rather than a current-day sherry profile. Light herbal notes. Some roasted nuts in the background, with much more smoky tones than the current Speyside profile.
Mouth: same feeling of hugely integrated whisky. Starts fruit and rounded. Apricots, a general sweetness and various honeys. Then more resinous and waxy notes. Sweet spearmint. Very light mocha and roasted nuts. There’s the elegance of Speyside whisky but this feels much more like a Highlander.
Finish: long, waxy, honeyed, with lightly salty oak and the faintest hint of smoke.
Wonderful Glenfarclas. It has an intriguing combination of polished elegance and a kind of Island-style robustness, including smoky and salty notes. Priceless. Thank you so much, Luc & Eiling!