Glenfarclas 2002 (Whiskyherbst) Review

“Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire”

Whisky Review # 632

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Glenfarclas 2002
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 9 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 56.1%
Maturation: Sherry Casks 
Chill Filtration: No 
Price Range: An average US$ 175 (August 2017)
Sample received from Jan Bronkhorst, the Netherlands. Many Thanks! 
Buying Advice: 😐 Good Single Malt. Quite Expensive. Christmas Gift! 

Colour: Mahogany/Dark Brown (Natural Colour)

Nose: The colour suggests active casks and this is confirmed by the Nose. Very rich, lightly Sweet and oily Oloroso Sherry is the main driver here with an array of Dried Fruits, Nuts and Spices. I find Figs, Dates, Raisins, Sultanas, Almonds, Chestnuts, light Clove, Cinnamon and Ginger. Other Aromas include Sweet Barley, Straw, Grass, Buttered Toast, Blackberries, Port Wine, Heather-Honey, Salted Caramel, Brown Sugar, Mint, Peach, Orange Peel, Balsamic Vinegar, Oak and hints of Dusty Road, Chocolate and Rum. Perhaps some very faint Sulphur and Varnish notes but they are very nicely integrated. The Alcohol is noticeable but does not spoil the party. The 2002 feels certainly older than its 9 years. Good Cask Management.

Visit May 2014

Palate: The delivery is Powerful thanks to the high ABV. Full, Rich and Mature despite its young age. I find Toasted Barley, Golden Syrup, Brown Sugar, Dried Fruit like Figs, Plums, Raisins and Apricots, Roasted Nuts, Caramel, Marzipan, Treacle, Heather-Honey, Oak, Orange-Peel, Pepper, Clove, Salt, Nutmeg, Ginger, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Aniseed, Mint, Tobacco and Dried Herbs.   

Finish: Middle-Long, Bitter-Sweet, Spicy and Oaky. Again,you would guess this to be much older than 9 years. Quite Dry and with some clear Peppermint and Menthol notes towards the end. I also find Toasted Barley, Dried Fruit like Figs and Apricots, Nuts, Marzipan, Milk Chocolate, Orange Marmalade, Dry Earth, Salted Caramel, Heather-Honey, Tobacco, Port Wine, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Cardamom and Aniseed. The Alcohol is quite strong and I also find some traces of Sulphur. Nothing serious though.

Drinking Advice:
Due to the fact that I only had a small sample at my disposal I merely tasted this Glenfarclas neat. 

Rating: 88          

Nose: 22.5 - Taste: 22 - Finish: 21.5 - Overall: 22

Bottle # 250 out of 672

General Remarks:

🏣   The Distillery and Today's Whisky:

The distillery was founded in 1836 by Robert Hay in Ballindalloch (Banffshire). It was bought by the Grant family in 1865 and it remains in their possession until today. The core range consists of the 8, 10, 12 , 15, 21 and 25 years, the 105 CS and the NAS Heritage. The Glenfarclas Malt is also used in Blends like the Isle of Skye. Glenfarclas produces around 2 million liters per year. The distillery only uses Ex-Sherry casks to mature the Spirit. 

The Glenfarclas 9 Years I'm reviewing today was bottled at cask strength in 2011 exclusively for the German whisky fair "Copenicker Whiskyherbst" that has been organised in Berlin since the year 2000. Since 2013 the venue is an old Malt factory. The fair attracts around 3500 visitors every year.

🍷  The Spirit 

Glenfarclas operates 3 pair of directly fired stills. They are the largest stills on Speyside. The Lyne arms mostly point downwards. The stills produce a full, nutty, lightly peated and sherried Spirit. The water is drawn from the Green Burns.

Visit May 2014

🌲  The Wood:

The Glenfarclas 2002 Whiskyherbst matured in First-Fill Oloroso Sherry Casks. A total of 672 bottles were filled. Despite a few light Sulphur notes, the cask(s) have wonderfully interacted with the Glenfarclas Spirit. It proves that you can produce good and relatively young whisky when using quality casks. 

Drinking Experience: Good

Conclusion: You're already thinking about Christmas and you don't know what to ask Santa? In that case, a bottle of the Glenfarclas 2002 Whiskyherbst might be an interesting proposition. There are still some bottles for sale on the Internet. It's a very nice Whisky to enjoy after a nice Christmas dinner. And, who knows, with a good Cigar for company. It's not a perfect whisky as the Alcohol is a little Edgy at times and there are a few light Sulphur/Varnish notes  around. But on the whole this Glenfarclas 2002 shows what can be done in a relatively short time with a good quality Spirit and some good casks. Well done Glenfarclas and well done Whiskyherbst. I'm ready for Christmas. When drinking this Malt I can almost hear the Jingle Bells!    

Jan van den Ende                                                                   August 14, 2017

Visit May 2014


Anonymous said...

Dear Jan,

very nice review and obviously a very nice dram. Well the "Whiskyherbst" bottlings are always very special and nice (this year its going to be a 20 year old clinelysh from the warehouses of signatory matured in a refill sherry cask). An well Glenfarclas can obviously be very good also at young ages when using the right casks - reminds me of the 105 that I like, however in this case it would be a very special edition of the 105....

I followed your blog with great interest during the last weeks, as you had a very nice choice of drams (your vacation in Scotland paid off, I guess)...Lagavulin 12 (yeah very nice, however expensive and a lot of hype, if you want very nice and interesting young Lagavulin, I recommend the 8 year old that they issues last year for the 200th anniversary, here in Germany you can get it for about 50€, whis is fair in my opinion)...Old Pultney 21 and Tomatin 18 (I was looking forward to this review, as our friend Marcus told me that the new version is very nice, but I did not manage to try it yet, and now, after your nice review, I will make sure to give it a try soon)...

Keep it up and all the best

Jan van den Ende said...

Thanks a lot for you kind words Bjorn. In fact I only brought 4 bottles from Scotland and they will only be revealed later. The others are samples I bought in Holland. They include the Lagavulin 8 that I will review in the coming weeks. If you have special Review wishes, just let me know and I will try to get samples!