Does it annoy you that most whisky commentary is about whiskies that you and I can’t afford or are never likely to see? And that the desire for whisky writers to focus on the most elitist malts is so infectious that one whisky writer who somewhat risibly has started promoting himself as the voice of normal people included a bonus whisky in his new book that retails at an eye-watering £100,000.
Despite that same writer’s snide accusations, the Whisky Shop has always been about offering a wide, intelligent and quality choice to people at all price levels, and about remembering that most customers aren’t interested in spending hundreds of pounds on a bottle of spirits.
That’s where Old Flames comes in. We think it is right to return to basics and highlight the many whiskies that are world class, taste great, but have been forgotten in the rush to taste the latest Glen Sexy 72 Year Old finished in diamond encrusted outer Mongolian 500 year old mountain oak.
Old Flames is a back to basics look at some of the heavyweight heroes which while not actually unsung, may have been overlooked a little in the current faddy whisky rush.
If you’re new to whisky, then each week we’ll pick a whisky which is fully recommended by The Whisky Shop team and I. If you’re an old hand, our advice is step back, pour a dram of your whisky of choice, find a quiet space or a darkened room, maybe put on a favourite piece of music from years gone by, and reacquaint yourself with what may well have been one of your first loves. Rediscover what excited you about an Old Flame. Share a moment. Make friends again. Feels good, doesn’t it?
If you’re new to whisky, then each week join me as we go a journey through a malt whisky greatest hits package. Every one of these choices comes thoroughly recommended and won’t break the bank.
This week: the very wonderful Glenfarclas 10.
When it comes to trustworthy malts, home bankers, the reliable centre back that is the first name on the team sheet and will never let you down, well they don’t come any bigger or better than Glenfarclas 10 year old.
Glenfarclas is the AC/DC of the malt whisky world:a top quality, consistent, no frills, straight down the line hard rockin’ outfit which delivers every time. It’s a good time malt which understands its audience. And if we’re going to stretch the analogy with almost Alan Partridge like skill – well I am based in Norwich after all, A-Ha – Glenfarclas 105 might be the distillery’s answer to Back In Black but the 10-year-old is For Those About To Rock – a rough and ready straight to the point classic from which the story really all began…
Glenfarclas is an independent Speyside distillery owned by the Grant family. There are legendary stories of the family being offered blank cheques by North American drinks giant Sam Bronfman to sell it on but unlike Bruichladdich, the family turned own the money because they were having too much fun and wouldn’t know what to do without a distillery.
The whisky itself is adored by fans across the world – and it’s made to a very simple formula. Take the highest quality ingredients you can afford – apply centuries’ old artisanship to distill the spirit, and then store it in the very finest quality sherry casks. The distillery doesn’t bother with fancy finishes, frilly special editions, or style over substance in the packaging front. It just makes fine single malt whisky.
The 10 year old is the entry level malt and it’s a beauty – rich, robust and rugged, mixing red berry, wine and orange notes with a touch of earthiness and a hint of meatiness from the sherry cask. I’m reminded of Christmas punch as well as nutmeg and cloves, a and there’s some sweet spice in the mix.This is a big, warming, rounded malt with a lovely fruity whisky.
Yep, a whisky rock and roller if ever there was one – quite definitely a whole lotta Rosie!!