Bought: The Whisky Shop, 28th January 2016
95.5/100 – Whisky Bible 2016
84.5/100 – Whiskybase (average from 2 member votes)
8.5/10 – Whisky Wednesday (their video review below)
In September 2014 I started a list of possible birthday presents for my brother when he turns 50 in 2018. There were 3 bottles of whisky on the list distilled in 1968, the year he was born. All 3 were similarly priced at £180. I looked at the list 18 months later and, to my surprise, one of the bottles was still available on its original shop page. The price? £430, an increase of £250, such is the crazy nature of the whisky market.
I thought of this story because of Glenfarclas and their ‘Family Cask’ range, which seems designed to answer the demand for older vintages, often caused by birthdays such as my brother’s. I sometimes see on whisky forums and Facebook pages that dram drinkers have treated themselves to a bottle from the year of their birth. The only Glenfarclas ‘Family Cask’ I can find from 1968 is selling for £2,190! Blimey! And I thought £430 was bad enough! Is it greed or market forces? If I’d increased my business prices by nearly 150% in the last 18 months I’d have lost all my clients but the whisky industry keeps on booming (for now). But, as a Scot, can I really complain about a Scottish industry coining in a fortune during the good times? I’m actually quite proud, and my brother is reduced to getting socks for his birthday.
Thankfully you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a good example of Glenfarclas. This bottle distilled in 1994 and bottled in 2014 (19/20yo) scores an amazing 95.5/100 in the Whisky Bible 2016 and cost less than £80. The Glenfarclas Family Cask 1969 scores 8 points less but costs more than £800! The author, Jim Murray, describes the taste of the 1994 as “a delivery to die for….the cleanest, juiciest grape on the vine, at times eye-wateringly juicy and proud enough to absorb the continuing waves of toasty oak; a few sharper sauternes and marmalade notes mingle before the oils begin to form”. He summaries with “not far off God’s gift to present day sherried malt whisky.” 95.5/100 classifies this malt as a “superstar whisky that gives us all a reason to live”.
Here’s Whisky Wednesday on You Tube with their review (December 2016):