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Glenfarclas - All in the family

 After using this column to discuss Indian, Swedish, French, Australian and other “world whiskies”, it’s finally time for an article on Scotch Whisky – and where better to start than Speyside classic Glenfarclas? 

Glenfarclas is one of only a few Scottish distilleries to remain family owned since the 1800s – an impressive feat when you consider just how widely recognised (and internationally adored) Glenfarclas is. Since 1865, the distillery has been under the ownership of the Grant family, with successive Grants (all either John or George!) managing the distillery. Today, Sales Director and occasional visitor to Hong Kong George S.Grant acts as the face of the distillery, regularly visiting markets around the world for tastings and events. Prior to joining the family business full time, he even worked in Hong Kong distributing Glenfarclas! 

In 2015 my wife and I were lucky enough to take the “Five Decades” tour at Glenfarclas. Whilst it included an in-depth review of the entire production process, and some incredible tastings (straight from the cask) in the No.1 Warehouse, the highlight was the “Five Decades” vertical tasting at the end, where we tasted “Family Cask” bottles from 1955, 1965, 1975, 1983 and 1995. At 58, 49, 37, 29 and 17 years old respectively, this was no ordinary single cask tasting. 

The 1995, botted in 2012 at 52.5% ABV was a beautiful way to start, with big toffee and passionfruit notes coming together perfectly on the nose, toffee with some earthy charcoal smoke on the palate, and subtle BBQ charcoal notes rounding things out on the finish. 

The 1983, bottled in 2012 at 47.3% ABV was sadly my least favourite. The lightest of the five whiskies, it was matured in a Hogshead and had a nose of freshly cut grass, crayons and some tropical fruit, with stone fruit, bananas and a slight plastic note on the palate. The finish, long and sweet. 

The 1975, also bottled in 2012 at 54.7% was absolutely brilliant. With notes of cola, coffee grinds and marzipan on the nose, huge mint chocolate notes on the palate, and a long and minty finish. Unusual, but absolutely delicious. My favourite of the five. 

The 1965 Family Cask, bottled in 2014 at 49.7% is best described as a mix between the 1995 and 1975. The nose was somewhat muted (with hints of treacle), but the palate burst with sweet honey, golden syrup and oak. The finish was all honey. 

Finally came the main event – the 1955 Family Cask, a 58yo whisky bottled in 2013 at 43.3% ABV. Not the oldest Glenfarclas I’ve tried, but given my surroundings, easily the most special. With a deep, rich red-mahogany colour, and a dusty, oaky, almost “sour gummy worms” nose, its time in oak was evident. The palate was sour and viscous, with leather, cherry, some confectionary and lots of oak. The finish was long, oak-driven and meaty. A great experience, but I preferred the 1975. 

If you ever find yourself in Speyside, and you’re looking for an in-depth distillery tour with a very special tasting, you’d do well to visit Glenfarclas. Sláinte! 

認識 Glenfarclas 家族珍釀 

 

介紹過印度、瑞典、法國、澳洲和其他地區威士忌後,這次終於介紹蘇格蘭威士忌,有甚麼地方好得過介紹Speyside經典Glenfarclas?

作為少數從19世紀依然僅存的家族酒廠之一,加上受到全世界廣泛應可和讚譽,對Glenfarclas可謂一項盛大壯舉。從1865年開始,這經典酒廠已經由格蘭家族擁有,由當時繼承人(John或George)掌舵打理。直到現在銷售總監George S.Grant 成為酒廠代言人,定期在各地市場舉行品鑑會和活動,George其實在完全打理家族集團生意之前,亦曾經在香港負責批發Glenfarclas!

在2015年我和老婆非常榮幸可以參與Glenfarclas的Five Decades導賞團,我們在倉庫可以深刻體驗整個製作過程和品鑑優質酒款(直接從酒桶抽取),最後的精彩時刻就是5個不同年代的垂直品鑑,分別從1955、1965、1975、1983和1995 的家族酒廠酒瓶抽取,能夠親嚐分別58、49、37、29和17年年份,絕不是普通單一木桶品鑑會。

最年輕的年份1995(2012年入瓶,酒精達52.5%)是美麗的開始,深刻的拖肥和熱情果氣息芳香撲鼻,而少許木炭煙燻和拖肥在口腔散發,輕柔燒烤木炭在結尾中圍繞。

接著是年份1983 (2012年入瓶,酒精達47.3%),不幸是我最不喜歡的酒款,5款威士忌來說它的味道最淡,在豬頭桶陳釀後呈現清新除草、蠟筆和一些熱帶果香氣;核果、香蕉和少許塑膠味道。結尾悠長甜美。

然後是年份1975 (2012年入瓶,酒精達54.7%)表現十分美好,帶出誘人可樂、即磨咖啡、杏仁糖膏香氣;濃郁薄荷朱古力的滋味加上迂迴不散的薄荷味作收結,味道不尋常但非常可口,是五款中最愛。

再接著年份1965 (2014年入瓶,酒精達49.7%)是年份1975和1995的優美混合,氣味是相對減弱(帶輕柔的糖蜜),但味道充滿香甜蜜糖、糖漿和橡木,結尾全都是蜜糖風味。

壓軸出場是1955的家族酒桶(2013年入瓶),需然不是我嘗試年份最古老的Glenfarclas,但是很容易成為最特別的酒款。擁有深邃紅木色,粉狀、橡木和酸軟糖氣息;見證了在橡木浸淫的時間;味道酸酸而粘,並充滿皮革,櫻桃,一些糖果和大量的橡木。餘韻悠長、橡木和肉香。雖然是一次美好體驗但我較喜歡年份1975。

若果你身處Speyside,欲想尋找深度酒廠導賞團和特別品鑑,Glenfarclas絕對值得你遊覽。