It’s not every day that the Royal Mail delivers something special to my door. Well, in fact, they hardly ever as it is usually bills. But a couple of days ago a very special package was delivered courtesy of the chaps at Master Of Malt.
After ripping through the extremely efficient packaging my eyes became all gooey and misty eyed. And it wasn’t because I’d just poked myself in the eye with some of the industrial strength bubble wrap that had surrounded it.
No, it was because I held in my hand a very precious thing, a box containing a miniature of Glenfarclas 1953!
Now that’s something very special indeed. Not only is it 58 years old which is pretty special in itself but it is the oldest spirit ever to leave the Glenfarclas Distillery walls.
The cask it matured in for all those years began its life in Spain, where it was used to mature and then transport fine sherry to Scotland. It was bought by Glenfarclas and filled with whisky on 20 November 1953.
As it states in the Press Release (they’ve written it so much better than me):-
“The single cask whisky launched by Glenfarclas is the oldest spirit released so far by the distillery.
The privilege of exclusive access to the distillery’s rarest and oldest stock, the remaining 4 casks distilled in 1953, were given by George Grant, of Glenfarclas to a panel comprised of Serge Valentin, a whisky connoisseur and a key member of the internationally renowned Malt Maniacs, Ben Ellefsen, Sales Director for Master of Malt (Whisky Magazine’s ‘Global Online Retailer of the Year’ 2012), Michal Kowalski of Wealth Solutions and George Grant himself.
The panel was unanimous in their selection and cask #1674 was selected to be bottled.”
Cask #1674 yielded only 400 bottles at a cask strength of 47.2% abv and is naturally coloured and non-chill filtered. It has been produced for the Polish investment market but some are available from Master of Malt.
Amazing to think that when it was distilled the world was a very different place. Britain was just coming out of rationing, the coronation of Queen Elizabeth was held and Frankie Lane was at No.1 with “I believe”.
To put 58 years into perspective, people would have started their working life at Glenfarclas after the whisky was casked and retired before it’s bottling!
Here’s some tasting notes:-
Official Nosing by Charles MacLean What I Reckon Nose: A mild nose feel. Very clean, fresh and highly perfumed — the scent fills the room:
hair lacquer, shampoo, face cream, almond oil (and pounded flaked almonds). I was reminded of an old fashioned barber’s shop. Beyond this, a fruity complex which includes fresh apricots and dried figs, and the gradual emergence of sweet tablet.
(@ c40%) Even a drop of water reduces the aroma. After a while some rich vanilla sponge emerges — even steamed syrup pudding, very slightly burnt. The latter develops into scorched brown paper.
Palate: Smooth and fresh; not as sweet as expected. Centre palate and quite tannic/mouth
drying, with some spice. A long, rounded, warming finish.
Finish: Warm sand and sand-dunes, with sun-tan oil.
Overall: Layer upon layer of flavour. A splendid old whisky; still lively, and not displaying any woodiness. Much influenced by the American oak cask, but wholly beneficially. Best enjoyed unreduced. Cheerful and friendly at natural strength.
Nose: I was tapping away on the laptop and was surprised at how quickly the room was filled with it’s wonderful sweet and fresh aromas.
Palate: Sweet but not sickly, currants, cake mixture. Not oily or heavy at all.
Finish: Spicy, hint of dryness and very, very warming!
Overall: As I said in a tweet “Glenfarclas 1953 – that truly is an amazing malt! I think I’m spoilt for life!” My opinion certainly hasn’t changed – it is an awesome dram. It may have been bottled at nearly pensionable age but it is still full of life and zest!
Once again, many thanks to Master Of Malt for an amazing opportunity to taste history!