Continuing the CWS tour of Scotland, this is the first time we’ve pitched up in Speyside. This is a cask-strength heavy-hitter, listed in 101 Whiskies To Try Before You Die, and scoring 95+ in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible – so a “must-try” on our list.
105 is notable for being the very first cask-strength release from any distillery, so it’s place in history is assured. Added to this, Glenfarclas is an independent, family-owned distillery who jealously guard their reputation for quality.
We had this alongside a 10 year old Glenfarclas and an M&S exclusive 2003 vintage 10 year old Glenfarclas.
70cl / 60% ABV
Nose: Great depth, sherry and rum. Creamy and nutty. Honey on toast, touch of smoky, slightly burnt coffee. Starts relatively hot but not aggressive, with a slightly vinous background. Develops on quite some caramel, fudge, Demerara sugar, hints of strawberry jam… it’s big, but not un-nosable at 60% vol. With water: it’s the sherry that comes out and quite loudly so. Also heavy pipe tobacco. Oaky. Apples and pears.
Palate: Silken, spicy and peppery oak. Big and rich. Almond, praline, hazelnut, dried peels, fruity. Powerful but also creamy, rich, starting on coffee and orange liqueurs and little winey notes. Touch of Armagnac, a hint of rancio perhaps? Some pepper, dark toffee, brownies and just touches of blackcurrant jelly. Also strawberry jam. With water: sweeter and unexpectedly lemony.
Finish: Long, rich, peppery, malty and nutty.
Nice heavy bottle in a characteristic Glenfarclas style.
It IS bold and punchy but we struggled to pick out everything that is mentioned in the tasting notes above. Not quite as refined as Aberlour A’bunadh (another sherried NAS cask-strength Speysider and a favourite among CWS members) but also more assertive. Great value for money.